Match Report: Liberty Professionals 3-1 Hearts of Oak
Liberty Professional ended a three season winless run against Hearts of Oak by hammering them 3-1 at the Carl Reindorf Park in the Ghana Premier League on Sunday.
Anthony Nimo nailed the Phobians coffin and dashed any hopes of a late come-back when he smashed the ball past Kingsley Kissi in the 90th minute.
Liberty took a first-half lead through Michael Appiah while Tuffour Frimpong doubled their lead four minute after the interval.
However, Ollenu Ashitey came Hearts hopes when he linked up well with Winful Cobbinah to intelligently shot beyond Stephen Kwaku on the 65th minute mark.
It was a double agony for Hearts as the defeat complicated a half-time ankle injury to safest pair of hands Philemon McCarthy who was rushed to hospital.
And it was also an afternoon when Hearts’ failure helped Kotoko to open 9-point lead at the summit of the section.
The Phobians went into the tie at the Carl Reindorf Park in Dansoman on an impressive winning run against the Scientific Soccer Lads. Eric Kumi and Robin Gnagne strikes gave Hearts a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture at the Accra Sports Stadium. They had also won all of their previous three games.
Liberty’s last victory over Hearts came in the 2011/12 season when they completed a double over their cross-city rivals.
Mohammed had injury concerns to deal with. Kofi Abanga who pulled out of the victory over AshGold during recess in midweek could not travel with the team while Gerald Wellington also sit out with a groin problem.
2014 Ghana CHAN defender Nuru Sulley returned to partner Ivorian Robin Gnagne with Emmanuel Ansong and Ghana U20 defender Owusu Bempah completing the back four.
Paul Acquah held down his starting berth while Maxwell Boakye, Hamza and Ollenu Ashitey all started in midfield.
Winful Cobbinah and Eric Kumi played upfront with Ollenu behind them to complete an attacking trident.
The Carl Reindorf Park witnessed perhaps the biggest crowd since the start of the season and a measure of their anticipation was felt when Ollenu Ashitey artfully took on two Liberty defenders and laid down an inviting pass for Kumi but the youngster’s goal-bound effort was cleared off the line.
Moments later, Senegal import Mohammed Cisse showed Liberty’s attacking intent when he got the better of Robin Gnagne and darted a curling effort at goal but Philemon McCarthy dived to his right to grab the ball with feline agility.
Both sides continued to unyieldingly probe for an opening as the tie approached the quarter of an hour mark, it became a ding-dong fight in midfield.
In the 18th minute, a crazy-twerking display inside the Liberty box resulted in a Hearts goal but the center referee, J A Amenyah awarded an infringement in Liberty’s favour as Hearts forward Kumi appeared to have heckled the Liberty defender.
The last five minutes before the break brought successive goal-mouth excitements. Cobbinah’s glancing header was heading for goal when keeper Stephen Kwaku pulled a world-class save to tip the ball to corner.
Liberty turned the heat on Hearts and Tuffour Frimpong fired a cracking drive at Philemon McCarthy’s post but his effort sensational came off the crossbar. The last-gasp pressure exchanges fetched the Liberty the opening goal.
A Nuru Suley howler gifted a golden chance to Michael Appiah and the youngster made no mistake to slot home for his sixth goal of the campaign with Philemon McCarthy stranded.
Philemon McCarthy could not continue the game due to an ankle twist and Kingsley Kissi took his place – a debut game for the former Istanbul FC keeper. But the youngster could not get to a dream debut as he conceded the second goal.
Tuffour Frimpong scaling through to power a header past him from a corner kick to give Liberty a 2-0 lead.
Emmanuel Ansong took the Hearts of Oak armband.
Ollenu Ashitey linked up well with Winful Cobbinah to halve the deficit for Hearts but defender Anthony Nimo sealed the win for Liberty with a 90th minute strike.