Accra Hearts of Oak opened their Ghana Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win over Berekum Arsenals at the Cape Coast on Saturday. Ghana U23 striker Mahatma Otoo’s 8th minute goal helped the former African champions recover from last week’s 3-1 defeat to rivals Kotoko in a pre-season friendly.
With the Ghana league starting on Sunday, the Arsenal-Hearts clash was arranged a day earlier because of venue problems.
Arsenals had to play their home game at the Robert Mensah Stadium instead of their favourite Golden City Park in Berekum due to a two-match home ban.
Serbian coach Nebojsa Vucicevic who has come under intense pressure at the club after the defeat to Kotoko fielded a strong squad with goalkeeper Sammy Adjei returning to the post. Midfielders Esme Mends, Douglas Nkrumah and striker Mahatma Otoo were all started while Joseph ‘Bobby Short’ Tagoe marked his return to the club coming on as a second half substitute.
It did not take long for Hearts to launch an assault on Arsenals who beat the Phobians in Accra last season.
Otoo connected a cross from captain Douglas Nkrumah to seal the victory for the vociferous supporters of the Accra-based side.
Captain Nkrumah expressed delight at his side winning start.
“We thank God for the victory. The fans were great. They cheered us on through-out the game and we want that to continue,” the club’s top scorer for last season said.
The former Asante Kotoko midfielder also praised the tactics of coach Vucicevic.
“We played to his instructions and that helped us to win.”