Hearts of Oak failed to maintain their lead at the top as they were stunned by a goal to nil by Liberty Professionals at the Accra Sports Stadium on match day 14 of the Ghana Premier League on Thursday.
The away side needed Issah Shaibu’s first half goal to win and pick the three maximum points at stake.
The Phobians thus lose their first spot to Wa All Stars - both teams are on 25 points but the Wa based club have superior head to head record.
Hearts of Oak called the bluff of the away side early as Eric Kumi powerful 20 yards drive went over the bar but the Dansoman based side responded swiftly as Ben Arthur’s shot went wide.
The high pressing strategy deployed by the away side’s trainer George Lamptey worked perfectly – Liberty Professionals took control of the game and bombarded the host with a lot of attacks.
Edward Ebo Mends who was the engine in Liberty’s midfield.
Due to Liberty’s pacy play the Phobians defended deep and they got to punish them for that – the away side scored the first goal in the 18th minute, it was a beautiful build up between Arkson and Mends from the half way line, the latter found Latif Salifu, - the diminutive winger thread Issah Shaibu through and he intelligently planted the ball beyond Samuel Akurugu.
Liberty should have registered at least two more goals but Ben Arthur was awful upfront, the Phobians tried fighting back but the away side held on to their lead to end the first half.
The second half display by the home side was better than the first half as they seized Liberty’s midfield and threw a lot of bodies upfront, they created a decent opportunity which Cosmos Dauda shot wide.
The Phobians initiated another attack but getting the ball past Samuel Sarfo was their bane as in most occasions the away side goalie Stephen Kwaku was virtually on holiday.
Liberty then warmed themselves into the game – the combination between Gerald Arkson, Ebo Mends and Latif Blessing teared the Phobians apart in midfield.
Ollennu Ashittey was the brightest player in the Phobians set up as his surging runs opened up Liberty’s defense but Samuel Yeboah failed to connect his carpet cross.
Arguably the best on the day, Ebo Mends tested Hearts goalie from 20 yards, the former Hasaacas goalkeeper stood to the test to parry the ball away - the resulted corner-kick was neatly headed at goal by Latif Blessing but it was cleared on the line by Vincent Atinga.
Kenichi Yatsuhashi urged his boys to go all out but Liberty were strong at the back to defend their first half goal.