Hearts of Oak opened their 2015 CAF Confederation Cup competition with a 1-0 win over AS Police from Benin at the Accra sports stadium on Sunday.
Hearts of Oak enjoyed lot of possession as they huddled the ball in their own half looking for spaces in the AS Police defense but the Cotonou based club kept it tight at the back.
The compact display on the part of the away side kept Hearts of Oak’s attackers at bay as in the 5th minute they nearly fetch the opener with a swift break but the defensive tackle on the part of Philip Boampong saved the Phobians.
The tempo of the game kept on rising with the Phobians dictating the pace as AS Police kept it safe when they have the ball and also focusing on a fast break. In the 17th minute Leonard Tawiah raced pass three defenders of AS Police but his untimely shot went wide, the away side maintained their discipline at their defense and in the 21st Dossa Honarie was send through on goal as his shot got parried away by Soulama Abdoulaye.
The Phobians had three dangerous free-kicks around the goal area of AS Police but on numerous occasions Owusu Bemapah shots hit the well organised wall of the away side.
Gilbert Fiamenyo announced his presence in the 31st minute mark of the game after his poor connection missed AS Police goal post narrowly, the Phobians kept the heat on the away side as Kofi Abanga went pass AS Police defense but his shot landed straight to the waiting hands of Agboku Judical in post for the Cotonou based side as the first half was brought to an end.
Back from recess, the inclusion of Paul Acquah for Issah Mumuni positively changed the complexion of the game as his first touch into the 46th minute won a corner-kick which was floated in by Owusu Bempah as Selasi Adjei headed home the opener for the Phobians.
The Phobians nearly doubled their lead but the strike from Selasi Adjei clutches the gloves of AS Police shot stopper. Hearts of Oak kept on the pressure with a quick passing game which AS Police defenders put their body on the line to protect their goal area.
The away side after the early second half pressure from Hearts of Oak regrouped and started passing the ball among themselves with Soulama Abdoulaye in post for the Phobians virtually on holiday.
The best opportunity in the game fell to substitute Kwame Kizito who came in for injured Thomas Abbey in the 70th minute when he had only the goalkeeper to his mercy but he passed the to ball to AS Police goalkeeper Agboku Juical, 2 minutes later Selasi Adjei failed to double his side lead as he shot got parried away by AS Police shot stopper.
In the last 15 minutes of the game, it was end to end action as Hearts of Oak captain Ruben Gnagne laboured in the game with an ankle injury. AS Police abandoned their defensive display searching for the equalizer but their final passes let them down as the game was brought to an end with Hearts of Oak going into the second leg fortnight time with a 1-0 scoreline.
Hearts of Oak starting XI – Soulama Abdoulaye, Owusu Bempah, Shaun October, Ruben Gnagne, Philip Boampong, Leonard Tawiah, Kofi Abanga, Issah Mumuni, Selasi Adjei, Thomas Abbey, Gilbert Fimaenyo.
Hearts of Oak subs – Seidu Mutawakilu, Richard Yamoah, Kwaku Andoh, Kwame Kizito, Ollenu Ashittey, Issac Oduro, Paul Acquah.
AS Police satrting XI – Agboku Judical, Oladjide Akim, Bawa Fadil, Fitila Lawani, Tchato Giscard, Viza Thomas,Uche Djaleto, Chanda Ayinla, Kossa Hamann, Dossou Domare.
AS Police subs – Semevo Gyilla, Sama landi, Adamon Raouf, Alaissane Mandou, Dossogate William.
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