Accra Hearts of Oak shared the honours with WAFA, in a 1-1 draw game, in the match-day Ghana Premier League fixture at the Accra Sports Stadium on Wednesday.
Cosmos Dauda pulled Hearts level in the 69th minute with a clinical finish after Charles Boateng had given the Academy boys the lead in the 34th minute of action.
The Phobians lifted their game in the second half, and cranked the pressure after getting the equalizer, but WAFA, who had Samuel Yeboah sent off for an altercation with one of the St. John’s Ambulance personnel deep in injury time, held on resolutely and resiliently to go back with a point from the capital.
Hearts maintained second spot, by moving a point ahead of Dreams FC, by gaining the point, but they could have got more.
Dauda had a perfect opportunity cleared on the line though most fans were adamant the ball had crossed over but the assistant and center-man Referee Samuel Gyasi did not get a clear view.
WAFA, after creditably exciting and titillating in the first half, exhibited their new-found dark art skills by feigning injury and wasting time to frustrate Hearts. The histrionics of the Academy boys overshadowed their hard earned point, and slightly went against the fanciful football tenets on which they pride themselves in.
The hosts cannot have any complaints on the pragmatic style exhibited by the Academy boys, but they will have to find a way of ending the four-game winless run.
Head Coach Yatsuhashi made six changes to the side that lost to Samartex in the last game. Soulama Abdoulaye and Robin Gnange returned to the back-five whilst Mustapha Essuman and Isaac Mensah rejoined the midfield, with Musah Ibrahim also getting a first start at home in the league.
Hearts ceded possession to WAFA in the early stages, but they had the clearest chance within the period. First, Cosmos Dauda was able to half-heartedly round the keeper after streaking through, but his shot was feeble for the WAFA defense to clear the ball.
Moments later, Essuman found the run of Eric Kumi on the flanks, and though he had men to choose from for a cutback, he lost his balance and shot into the side-net.
Abdul Wahab also fired wide from a good angle for the visitors a couple of minutes later.
The hosts seized the momentum for a 10-minute period though WAFA were looked comfortable in possession. A series of free-kicks could neither be turned nor found target with Owusu Bempah and Mustapha Essuman taking turns to effect.
Charles Boateng followed the direction of the ball after Abdul Wahab’s low drive was finger-tipped in the box to stab home from close range in WAFA’s major foray forward to net the first goal of the game in the 34th minute.
Four minutes later, the winger was again at the right place but this time he lifted his strike over the bar after the home defense failed to clear their lines.
Hearts riposted at the other end, but twice Isaac Mensah failed to find target first with a long range striker, and seconds later a simple tap in chance from a corner kick.
Eric Kumi gave way for Paul Acquah as Hearts sought to find a way back into the game after the break. But they were shocked by WAFA’s dereliction of their idealist style of play.
Goalkeeper Razak Abalora set the tone for what would be one of the most frustrating half of football to be witnessed at the Accra Sports Stadium in recent memory by winding the clock down before every single goal kick or incident. He was rightly booked by Samuel Gyasi a few seconds into the second half for time-wasting.
The visitors, who had set the tone in the first half with fast, exciting, and incisive play produced an antithesis for the spectators in the remaining minutes of the game.
Hearts huffed and puffed whilst WAFA feigned and wasted time. Dauda was unlucky when his header was scooped out of goal by the last man in defense for the visitors as the Phobians cranked the pressure in the 64th minute.
The Hearts style of play was rewarded in the 69th minute when Dauda latched on a through pass from Sarbah Laryea to fire in the leveler.
WAFA resorted to the dark arts with players falling down at the least contact to frustrate and punctuate Kenichi’s side’s momentum.
Samuel Tetteh received a second yellow card after hitting a female St. John’s Ambulance personnel, who had come onto the field to help the stricken striker unto a stretcher deep in injury time.
Seven minutes was added on, but Essuman blazed a golden opportunity over the bar after darting through on goal.
Hearts remain second on the league log with 15 points but will look back on this result as two points dropped, not a point gained.
Hearts XI vs WAFA: Soulama Abdoulaye, Fatawu Mohammed, Owusu Bempah, Richard Akrofi, Robin Gnange (c ), Sarbah Laryea, Eric Kumi (45 Paul Acquah), Mustapha Essuman, Cosmos Dauda, Musah Ibrahim (77 Kenneth Okoro), Isaac Mensah (82 Foovi Aguidi).
Unused substitutes: Seidu Mutawakilu, Vincent Atingah, Isaac Baadu, Kwame Kizito.
GOAL: Cosmos Dauda (69)
WAFA XI vs Hearts: Razak Abalora, Richmond Lamptey, Emmanuel Boateng, Abubakari Ibrahim, Mohammed Alhassan (75 Caleb Amankwah), Kennedy Boateng, Charles Boateng, Gideon Waja, Samuel Tetteh, Abdul Wahab, Martin Antwi.
Unused substitutes: Philemon McCarthy, Stephen Boye, Prince Obeng Ampen, Becanty Langui Kofi, Akunnor Gideon, Ibrahim Tanko.
Booked: Razak Abalora (45), Samuel Tetteh (67, 92 Red Card).
GOAL: Charles Boateng (34)
MATCH REFEREE: SAMUEL GYASI
Credit: Hearts of Oak