The Phobians couldn’t take advantage of the Accra Sports Stadium to record their first victory of the season in the matchday four encounters despite playing three games on the trot at the same venue.
Assistant coach Asare Bediako led the team in the encounter as he made four changes to the lineup that started against Inter Allies FC last Sunday since new head coach, Kosta Papic is ineligible to sit at the bench for the Phobians due to issues involving his work permit.
Nuru Sulley and Emmanuel Nettey were replaced by Robert Addo Sowah and Frederick Ansah Botchwey respectively due to injury. Kojo Obeng Jnr was dropped to the bench with Dominic Eshun being handed his first start of the season but this time playing in the central midfield rather than the usual flanks while Michelle Sarpong came in place of Abdul Manaf Umar Gumah.
Karela United made three changes to his set up as Yaw Acheampong earned his first start replacing Kamaradini Mamudu. Sadiq Alhassan returned to the first eleven are recovering from an injury taking the place of Umar Basiru. Nurudeen Abdulai also took the place of Darlington Gyan Fosu.
Hearts dominated the centre of the pitch as Karela United relied on the flanks. The Phobians had a clear chance to score in the early five minutes of the game after a sweet move from the midfield got the ball in the 18-yard box of the but Patrick Razak over kicked the final passes to Abednego Tetteh to complement the play.
Hearts once again came close to scoring but a header from the captain on the day, Mohammed Alhassan, found the side net after delivery from Frederick Ansah Botchwey.
The two teams failed to give their best in the first half of the match as both looked uninspired and non-purposeful as only Karela United ended the first half with a shot on target.
The tempo of the game in the second half was lifted after some substitutions by the two coaches. Hearts of Oak replaced yellow-carded Dominic Eshun with Manaf Umar Gumah while Karela United also brought in Joseph Cudjoe for Franklin Osei who also got booked in the first half.
Manaf Umar’s involvement in a build-up created two chances for the Phobians but the attackers could not finish it. The Phobians dominated the second half once again as Kojo Obeng Jnr replaced Abednego Tetteh upfront.
Kojo Obeng Jnr and Raddy Ovouka became a problem for the right side of the Karela team as both players made some wonderful runs with some fine crosses but the team failed to utilize them.
The Phobians came very close to break the game’s duck but Sarpong’s effort in the 50th minute rattled the woodwork after some good work by Patrick Razak. Patrick Razak and Manaf Umar failed to connect to clear goal-scoring crosses by Raddy Ovouka and Larry Sumaila respectively.
Hearts of Oak defenders managed to tame the attackers of Karela United including Diawusie Taylor who was well marshalled today.
Goalkeeper Richard Badoo made his dream debut in the Ghana Premier League as he came on to replace injured Ansah Fuforo against his parent club. The young goalkeeper made good saves with his good timing as he came out to meet crosses from the flanks of the Phobians making sure their attackers do not get connected to the ball.
Right-back, Larry Sumaila Ibrahim of Hearts, won the best player of the match award.
Hearts have only managed two points from the three matches they have played so far.
They play home again in their next fixture when Dreams FC come visiting.
Karela will be at the CAM Park in Aiyinase to entertain King Faisal Babes in matchday five.