Accra Hearts of Oak laboured but eventually overcame a resilient Elmina Sharks in extra time courtesy of Caleb Amankwah superb free-kick in the second half of extra time.
Having wrapped up the league title with a match to spare, the Phobians concluded the league season as Premier League champions. But before then, they had dispatched lower-tier side Accra Young Wise in the previous round by a lone goal to set up the encounter with Sharks who defeated Tema Youth 3 – 2 on penalties after a 1 – 1 draw.
Sharks went into the match with high morale, having defeated giants Asante Kotoko 1 – 0 on the last day of the league season to narrowly avoid relegation. They had fought the relegation battle for several weeks and were on the cusps of relegation before their hard-fought victory over the Porcupine Warriors.
That victory that secured their escape was also a morale booster and aside from that, they had held the champions and record FA cup winners to a draw at the Ndoum Sports Complex in January before suffering a two-goal defeat in the reverse fixture this season. They thus had hopes of exacting revenge and paving their own path to glory.
Hearts of Oak lost their coronation day match against West African Football Academy and drew the two matches prior to that. But with Samuel Boadu knowing the essence of the match, he paraded his strongest arsenal to face Sharks.
Sharks got the first corner of the game in the 11th minute but could not turn it into a goal as Richard Attah made an easy save. Ibrahim Salifu tested Joseph Essam in the 18th minute with a shot which was easily saved, Both sides wasted other set-piece chances including free-kicks at threatening positions in the 37th and 40th minutes for Sharks and Hearts respectively.
A goalless first-half soon followed another barren second half. And with there being a shortage of good scoring chances, Essam was at hand to deny Hearts through a Daniel Barnieh header from a Caleb Amankwah’s cross. Mohammed Alhassan used his body as a shield to block a potential Joseph Bissue’s shot to deflect it out for a corner.
The glory moment for the Phobians came four minutes into the second half of extra time through a set piece. Caleb Amankwah curled his free-kick into the net to give the Phobians the lead. Sharks could not respond with 11 minutes to end proceedings and Hearts held out for the victory.
Their victory now sets them up against the winner of the match between Medeama SC and Attram De-Visser Soccer Academy.