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Great Olympics prevail in ‘Mantse’ derby, Hearts stunned

Great Olympics edged their fierce regional rivals Hearts of Oak 1-0 as they secured maximum points in a match-day 16 encounter played at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Yusif Abdul-Razak scored the all-important goal for the ‘Dade Boys’ as they leapfrogged the Phobians into fifth on the league table while Hearts dropped into seventh.

Former Ghanaian International Sulley Ali Muntari who recently signed for the Phobians was named among the substitutes while Samuel Abbey Quaye who recently returned from a trial with Switzerland club FC Basel was named in the starting line-up for Great Olympics.

The first half started on a controversial note after Referee Maxwell Hanson waved away a penalty appeal from Hearts after Great Olympics defender Raymond Ako Grippman threw himself at a shot from Hearts talisman Gladson Awako.

The game was very open in the early stages and Olympics marksman Maxwell Quaye should have put his side ahead with a quarter of an hour played but his close-range effort struck the base of the post.

Kwadwo Obeng Junior who scored the winner for Hearts in their last encounter had a glorious opportunity to put the Phobians ahead on the 20th minute mark but his header from close range missed by inches.

Great Olympics found the opener on the half hour mark after James Akaminko’s through ball found Abdul Yussif Razak one-on-one with Hearts goalkeeper Richmond Ayi, as calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.

The goal boosted the confidence of Great Olympics players as they began to dominate possession with Hearts on the back foot in the late stages of the first half.

Hearts goalkeeper nearly gifted Great Olympics a second goal on the brink of halftime after he poorly handled Akaminko’s shot but Solomon Adomako couldn’t capitalize from the rebound.

Great Olympics held onto their lead as the game went into recess.

Hearts began the second half on the front foot and Gladson Awako nearly struck parity for the Phobians but his shot went wide of the post.

The tempo of the game was very high with some dangerous tackles flying in all round the pitch but Referee Maxwell Hanson was able to ensure calm.

Hearts was the much better side past the half hour mark as they pressed the Olympics defence for the equalizer but couldn’t find the breakthrough.

Obeng Junior nearly found the equalizer in the 72nd minute but his effort just outside the penalty box couldn’t trouble Great Olympics goalkeeper Stephen Kwaku.

Muntari did make his debut for Phobians with 13 minutes of the game left as Hearts searched for the equalizer.

The spirit of the Phobians was certainly high with the introduction of the Champions League winner but Great Olympics were resolute in defending as they denied the Phobians any clear sight at goal.

Kofi Kordzi should have pulled parity for the Phobians in second half stoppage time but shockingly missed from close range to despair of the teaming home supporters as Great Olympics held on for all three points.

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