Hearts of Oak secured an all-important win against Wydad Athletic Club in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League.
The Ghana Premier League champions defeated Moroccan giants in the first leg of the competition at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Striker Isaac Mensah scored a brilliant first-half goal to put Hearts of Oak 1-0.
After a difficult opening first half-hour, where the Phobians came under incessant pressure from the Moroccans, Samuel Boadu’s men turned on the screws in the last ten minutes before the halftime break with a string of fascinating attacking moves.
Ibrahim Salifu, who was voted Ghana Premier League best player last season forced a superb save from the WAC goalkeeper moments after Daniel Afriyie thought he should have had a penalty after being brought down by Tagnatoui in goal for WAC.
But it did not take long for Hearts of Oak to sting first. Salifu’s inch-perfect cross from the left was connected on the volley from 6 yards out by Isaac Mensah, sending the 2,000 approved fans in the Accra Stadium into a rupture.
The second half started much the same way the first ended; with Hearts of Oak looking to double their lead.
Salifu, again was presented the best opportunity when Kofi Kordzi’s showed strength to fend of Wydad defenders before laying the ball onto Salifu but the former Techiman Eleven Wonders midfielder sent his shot flying over the bar from 15 yards out.
Moments later, Kordzi himself then fired a vicious left-footed strike into the near post but Tagnatoui was alert palmed it away from danger.
Victor Aidoo and Agyenim Boateng came on to replace Salifu and Kordzi but could not increase the goal tally for the Phobians.
Late on, Wydad found the back of the net but there was sigh of relief when the assistant referee flagged for offside.
Hearts of Oak will immediately turn their attention to the second leg scheduled for next Sunday, October 24 in Casablanca.
The winner of this fixture over two legs will progress to the group stages of the Champions League, while the loser will play in their last round of qualifiers for CAF’s second-tier inter-club competition, the Confederation Cup, for a place in the group stages of that competition.