Hearts of Oak picked up their first defeat of the 2022/23 betPawa Ghana Premier League season following a slender 1-0 loss to Aduana Stars at the Nana Agyeman Badu II Park in Dormaa yesterday.
Forward Bright Adjei’s 48th minute strike was enough for the ‘Ogya’ boys to continue their home dominance over the Phobians and also secure their first victory under new gaffer Paa Kwesi Fabin.
Coach Samuel Boadu handed starting berths to newly-signed trio Eric Esso, Ouatching Yassan and goalie Eric Ofori Antwi ahead of Richard Attah and Richmond Ayi.
The early minutes saw the hosts dominate and caused few incursions upfront, but the backline of Hearts led by skipper Mohammed Alhassan gave Aduana no room to operate.
Just when Hearts stepped up, Coach Boadu was shown a yellow card for kicking the ball to express his displeasure at a decision by Referee Misbaw Mohammed.
In the 23rd minute, Samuel Aboagye came close to breaking the deadlock for Aduana with a sweet chip over goalie Ofori Antwi but missed narrowly.
The Phobians began to look more purposeful upfront with the link play between Ouatching and Afriyie Barnieh nearly giving them the lead when Ouatching’s sweet cross was met by Amankwah Baafi, but his final kick flipped off the cross bar in the 28th minute.
Minutes on, Caleb Amankwah went in with a good tackle on Aduana’s Adjei to deny him before goalie Ofori Antwi saved a one-on-one situation with Adjei after 38th minutes of action.
Before the first half barren break, Dennis Korsah went for power over technique with a good chance to hand Hearts the lead only to miss the target.
Three minutes into the second half, Aduana Stars deservedly took the lead through last season’s top scorer Bright Adjei. The versatile forward was left unmarked as he tapped in a cross from Sam Adams.
In the 52nd minute, Barnieh weaved his way through the defence of Aduana and laid a pass to youngster Suraj Seidu but his strike was blocked as Hearts kept pressing for the equaliser which never came.
To make matters worse, the Phobians were reduced to 10 men after Caleb Amankwah was shown the red card for a late challenge, having already received a caution in the first half.