Accra Hearts of Oak have been knocked out of the 2016 MTN FA CUP competition by Division One side Samartex FC. who beat the Phobians 4-2 on penalties, to progress to the last 16 of the competition at the Samreboi Park on Sunday.
The Samreboi-based side made a piece of history by ending Kenichi’s unbeaten run on the road in Ghanaian football with a hard-fought penalty shoot-out victory.
Seidu Mutawakilu saved the first kick from Alfred Forson, but Vincent Atingah, who had a solid game in the Hearts defense missed his kick.
Paul Acquah also missed as Samartex took the initiative to go on to win the battle of spot kicks to bundle Hearts out of the competition in front of the vibrant home fans.
It could have been very different had the strikers on the day shown a bit of composure in the final third of the game, but it was a day of bad luck for the visitors as two players bowed out to injury.
Kenichi made eight changes for the game, and he had to make another even before a ball was kicked. Evans Agbesi could not start his first ever Hearts game as he picked up an injury during the warm-up with Mutawakilu taking over in goal.
Hearts were handed another blow in the fourth minute of action when Isaac Oduro came off worse from an aerial tussle in the box. The defender landed awkwardly, twisting his ankle in the process, and had to be rushed, into the waiting ambulance, to the hospital.
The visitors took time to warm into the game, but when they got going they could not finish the half chances that came their way.
Foovi Aguidi missed a couple before Cosmos drew a good save from the Samartex goalkeeper.
However, the best chance of the game arrived on the stroke of the first half with Ollenu standing a cross at the back post for two Hearts players. Kizito met the ball, but did not see the unmarked Foovi who was calling for a cut back, as he ballooned it over the bar.
After the break, Hearts did apply a lot of pressure especially in the final quarter of the game, but Dauda and Musah Ibrahim, who had come on as substitute, were both denied by Michael Addo.
Hearts came close as the home side recoiled into a defensive mode, but they were lacking something in the final third as the game ended goalless in regulation time.
The game went straight into penalties but the nerves got to the Phobians as Samartex, buoyed by their home fans dispatched their penalties with ease, with the exception of Alfred Nelson, who missed the first kick, to move into the last 16 of the competition.
Richard Akrofi and Cosmos Dauda scored to give Hearts the lifeline, but Paul Acquah missed his for goalkeeper Michael Addo to score the winning goal.
Hearts are out of the FA Cup but they are back in action in midweek against WAFA in the league.
Hearts XI vs Samartex: Seidu Mutawakilu, Fatawu Mohammed, Isaac Oduro (7’ Owusu Bempah), Vincent Atingah, Richard Akrofi, Sarbah Laryea, Ollenu Ashitey (c ), Leonard Tawiah, Foovi Aguidi (52 Musah Ibrahim), Cosmos Dauda, Kwame Kizito (52 Paul Acquah).
Unused substitutes: Evans Agbesi, Isaac Baadu, Eric Kumi, Kenneth Okoro.
Booked: Leonard Tawiah (39), Sarbah Laryea (65)
Samartex XI vs Hearts: Michael Addo, Isaac Kofi Nunoo (c), Alfred Nelson, William Cayau, Prosper Afenu, Emmanuel Essuman, Gideon Kumordzie, Clement Abbay, Kweku Aidoo, Michael Anderson, Sulemana Abubakar.
Substitutes: Komi Egli, Daniel Amuzu, Justice Nkrumah, Raymond Kwofie, Kofi Daniel, Mohammed Alhassan, Richard Afari.
Booked: Prosper Afenu
MATCH REFEREE: FRED ANDOH.
Source: Accra Hearts of Oak