It lived up to the billing. The football, the passion, the drama and even the unpredictable. Sekondi Hasaacas beat Ebusua Dwarfs 2-1 at the Sekondi stadium in the Ghana Premier League.
It was a traditional derby involving neighbouring city clubs whose history in domestic football trace back to the 1950s, but the performances after twelves matches in the Premier League had a lot of distaste and red alert for a plausible relegation drop.
Hasaaacas sat on top of the drop zone while Dwarfs were at the very bottom. But the traditions of the clubs suggested a tough contest on hand and so it was on Sunday afternoon.
It was a nervy and cautious start from both sides but the home side had the first call on goal in the 10th minute. Ibrahim Suleman sent a pass from midfield to Emmanuel Ankobea on the left flank. Ankobea surged into the box and released the ball to Samuel Afful but Stephen Aidoo blocked the ball at his near post while both him and Afful went down.
Aidoo, while on the lying on the field cleared the ball but it went to Kojo Poku whose shot struck the bar and again went Saliw Babawo, who volleyed the rebound but goalkeeper Akwasi Acheampong saved the ball with a fantastic palm.
A minute later, Dwarfs had theirs as a three on two situation came. Nicholas Gyan cut in from the left and selflessly decided to put through Justice Mensah but Daniel Egyin cleverly stopped the deadly ball, and from nowhere Stephen Bentil pounced on the free ball but went wide narrowly.
Both teams had had a sniff on goal and it was up to both sides to break the deadlock. Dwarfs, did that in the 13th minute when a long ball from their half beat the entire back line of Hasaacas for Justice Mensah to run towards the ball, head past the onrushing Michael Abu from his post to slot home the opener.
Unbelievable stuff, in that the goal scorer was signed on by Dwarfs from the eternal and local rivals of Hasaacas, Sekondi Eleven Wise, a fortnight ago. Mensah celebrated in front of his friends in the stance but the pain of that was real for Hasmal.
Two minutes after conceding, Hasaacas had a perfect opportunity to equalized but a blooper rather happened. Ankobea curled a through pass to Kojo Poku, who controlled the ball and run with it into the box. However the striker wasted so much time to finishing that he ended up miss kicking terribly as goalie Acheampong picked up the free ball. It shocked many people and the mouths that were opened in disbelief were more than those that were closed.
Dwarfs totally took control of the game afterwards. They had more of the ball in their possession, the recovered easily and they passed so well you wouldn’t believe they were the bottom placed side. Their fans who had driven for about 45 minutes from Cape Coast to Sekondi enjoyed and had reasons to applause their team’s effort.
At a point, the Dwarfs fans could even afford to chant the slogan of Hasaacas “Dooo” in mockery of their disorganized play. Meanwhile, centre back Kingsley Nteng was booked just before the break and that caution was later going to affect the “Crabs”.
The early exchanges in the second half ensued but nothing significant happening until Justice Mensah pooped up in the 57th minute with a brilliant curler from 20 meters which landed on the bar and went out. It was from an open play that Mensah received a pass on his chest before unleashing the ball but the woodwork denied him a double.
Mensah had troubled the Hasmal defense so much. New Dwarfs head coach, Prosper Narteh Odum used Mensah so well as the target man upfront due to his height and ability to use his strength to win the ball and hold up play. He was just amazing on the day.
The Giants of the West were gradually making seemingly good attempt to claw back into the game and somehow had Eric Bekoe to thank for in the 59th minute. He forced himself with a ball into the box before being whacked down by Kingsley Nteng. The referee pointed to the spot and that was a penalty for Hasaacas. Nteng was sent off for a second bookable offence
Bekoe stood behind the ball and placed powerfully to the top right corner for the leveler on the hour mark.
Justice Mensah went close again with a left foot finish which missed goal by inches. Amos Korankye, who had been dull, showed his energetic self when bumped down the right side from his half, deep into the Dwarfs area and sent a low cross into the box but the connection from Saliw Babawo went off target.
Korankye again dribbled his way to whip in a cross which was poorly defended by Dwarfs but Ebo Duncan also volleyed off target from close range.
The weather became very cloudy and soon the rains followed heavily. The poor state of the stadium gave everybody a bad reason to worry and laugh at the same. People run away from their seats whether at the popular stand or VIP to very top step, close the wall of the edifice. The ripping roof was also blown away by the wind that one broke out and fell on the pitch.
But the drama on the thrilling game was not needed yet. The field despite the rain was playable and a long ball from Hasaacas’ defense found Bekoe who touched it for Samuel Afful to head it on goal. Afful managed to keep the ball in good position before he finished at the bottom corner in the 84th minute.
Hasaacas were now in the lead and their fans jubilated without restrain. Some walked out of hiding into the rain and started singing in cheers. It wasn’t long when the game was brought to an end. Pride and passion all over in the derby of the traditional clubs.
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