Hearts of Oak toppled 10-man Elmina Sharks 2-0 Sunday night to move within two points of leaders Asante Kotoko after match-day 25 of the 2020/21 Ghana Premier League (GPL).
The important win did not come without controversy as centre referee Maxwell Owusu wrongly awarded the Phobians a penalty and topped up with a red card to Sharks’ Isaac Donkor while the game was scoreless.
In the 42nd minute, Kingsley Adjei made a timely clearance by blocking a Kwadwo Obeng Junior goal-bound strike with his shoulder but the centre referee adjudged that the visitors’ centre-back had done so with his hand, hence pointing to the spot.
Elmina Sharks protested strongly but the referee stood his grounds with the decision and went ahead to issue a red card, mistakenly to Isaac Donkor for the penalty offence instead.
Goalkeeper Lord Bawa Martey ended up saving the penalty taken by striker Victor Aidoo.
Hearts made the numerical advantage count in the second half, scoring twice to snatch victory.
A poor backpass from right-back Surajn Ibrahim saw substitute Isaac Mensah closing down on Bawa Martey whose attempted clearance came off the leg of the Hearts striker and into an empty net. 1-0 the Phobians led in the 67th minute.
Man-of-the-match Benjamin Afutu netted the second goal with a close-range header in the 79th minute.
Hearts of Oak have now racked up 43 points and cut down the gap with leaders and arch-rivals Asante Kotoko – who drew at Liberty – to two points after 25 matches.