Accra Hearts of Oak's winless streak continued as they suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in the betPawa Ghana Premier League, losing 1-2 to Real Tamale United (RTU) at the Accra Sports Stadium yesterday.
Despite taking the lead in the first half, the Phobians were outplayed on their home turf, allowing the visitors to mount a spirited comeback in the second half. This victory provided RTU with three crucial points to alleviate their relegation concerns.
Hearts' disappointing result pushed them further down the league table to the 11th position, leaving their fans infuriated by their lacklustre performance and back-to-back home losses. Just a fortnight ago, they suffered an embarrassing 4-1 defeat against league leaders, Medeama SC.
RTU's former Hearts forward, Manaf, initiated the comeback against his former club by capitalising on a rebound in the 46th minute after goalkeeper Richard Attah had initially saved a shot from Stephen Badu, but Manaf seized the opportunity to score the equaliser.
Manaf's goal cancelled out Linda Mtange's impressive finish for the Phobians in the 34th minute. The Congolese import skillfully evaded his markers and struck a low drive past goalkeeper Yaw Osei.
RTU had to wait until the 79th minute to secure their winning goal after Badu volleyed in a left-footed strike, sealing the victory for the Pride of the North and earning them three valuable points on the road.
The Tamale lads started the game brightly, taking the match to the hosts. However, they were unable to convert their early goal attempts into goals.
In the 14th minute, Hearts came close to scoring the opener when Mtange capitalised on a mistake by RTU's Mohammed Sadat. Unfortunately, his effort missed the target.
RTU had their best chance of the first half when Manaf was played through by Sadat, but the forward failed to find the target.
The intensity of the game heightened in the second half when RTU quickly equalised. The Northerners maintained their pressure, which led to Hearts' Eric Esso being sent off in the 72nd minute for a foul on Sadat.
Four minutes later, Striker Kwadwo Obeng Jnr had an opportunity to give Hearts the lead again as he broke free from the RTU defence but saw his shot deflected for a corner.
Both teams threatened to take the lead, with Badu having a glorious chance to tap in from close range. However, he failed to capitalise on the opportunity.
RTU secured their second goal in the 79th minute when Badu fired a strike from a cross by Baba Kushibo, deservedly giving them the lead.
In the final minutes of the game, Hearts complained about unjust decisions by referee Foster Bastiours who disallowed a penalty and a goal after consulting the linesman.
The Phobians thought they had scored in the 90th minute through Yaw Amankwa Baafi, but the assistant referee flagged it offside.
With ten minutes of added time, RTU finished the game with 10 men after Hafiz Abdulai was shown a red card for striking his marker. However, they held on to secure their third league victory in five games.