SAT 06 JUNE 2015, 17:00, ACCRA


Esperance eliminate Hearts with away draw

by Ameenu Shardow

Sat June 06, 19:17

Hearts of Oak got eliminated from CAF Confederation after drawing 1-1 with Esperance on Saturday in Accra with a 5-1 aggregate defeat.

Midfielder Isaac Mensah scored early on with a powerful header on a well delivered free-kick by left back Isaac Oduro.

But substitute Wassim Naghmouchi finished off a nice counter-attack on 89 minutes to all but confirmed qualification for the Blood and Gold.

Esperance had earlier equalized just after Hearts had opened the scoring but the goal was disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama.

The visitors were incensed and protested in vain as the decision-as usual- was not reversed.

Hearts could cause further damage in the first half and created few scoring opportunities to end that installment with the slender lead.

After the break, the first chance again fell to Hearts but goalkeeper Ben Cherifa was alert to clutch the ball.

Pressure piled on the visitors as Harrison Afful, playing in an advance position, handled a ball just outside the box and referee Gamassa whistled for a free-kick. Oduro wasted it.

Just after the hour mark, Togolese striker Foovi Aguidi scored from close range but the flag was up already for offside.

Hearts continued to believe and began to weave pretty patterns and one of them was a lovely attack from the right saw a cross being whipped in but there was an Esperance player available inside the box to head out for a corner.

There was a bit of scare for Esperance when their Ghana international Afful visited the deck with a suspected thigh injury but he cleared to continued

On 70 minutes, Mensah sneaked behind the Esperance defender to apply a blistering header on a javelin throw-in but his effort was above the frame.

Hearts tried to find the second goal but Fiamenyo lacked composure inside the box as his effort 15 yards was deflected by a phalanx of Esperance defenders.

Ten minutes later, the burly striker was teed up again but his effort went into the side net.

Three minutes from time, left-back Oduro picked a ball from his area and slalomed his way into the Esperance area before picking out Fiamenyo

As Hearts chased for goals, their back capitulated and Nigerian striker Samuel Emem initiated a counter attack and laid a pass for Naghmouchi to connect into the twine.

The contest was over as the Blood and Gold advanced into the money.

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