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Sports Features of Wednesday, 4 April 2018


Aduana Stars send reminder of credentials

It stung almost like a classic April Fools’ Day prank – and, surely, many who didn’t follow the game live on Sunday but got the score later must have done a double take – but there was absolutely nothing comical about Aduana Stars thrashing Inter Allies 6-0; if there was, well, the joke was surely on Allies for losing by a goal difference the Ghana Premier League hasn’t seen in a long while.

Aduana Stars striker Bright Adjei tries to outwit Inter Allies defender Fusieni Mohammed during last Sunday’s game.

Kenichi Yatsuhashi’s side were all over the place, especially in an opening 45 minutes that saw them concede thrice in the first half-hour – all three goals coming from striker Yahaya Mohammed.

The dreadlocked poacher had the opportunity to go one better from the spot but spurned it, ultimately settling for the distinction of being the fastest to a hat-trick in the GPL this term before being hauled off for fellow ‘rasta’ Nathaniel Asamoah. The substitute duly registered his name on the score-sheet, but not before teammate Bright Adjei had made it four.

The icing, delivered so sweetly on the volley by Emmanuel Akuoko late on, compounded the misery of an Allies side that had endured being a man down following the 21st minute dismissal of goalkeeper Kwame Baah. At sixes – almost sevens, if you get the wordplay – Allies looked hapless during the rare battering and relieved by the final whistle.

The result is the first huge blot for Allies in a season that had otherwise gotten off to a dignified start, having prior won two games out of three and keeping as many clean sheets. Already their second loss away from home (the first a much less embarrassing affair at Asante Kotoko), the thrashing in Dormaa Ahenkro suggests ‘Sensei’ Yatsuhashi’s honeymoon is over and highlights Allies’ need to tighten their seat-belts particularly when on the road – not just literally, I mean – if they are to avoid the relegation dogfight they had on their hands last term.

The spoils, of course, went to big winners Aduana. This was about more than just three points; more importantly, it was about returning smiles to the faces of their devout fans who, on the day top-flight action returned to the Nana Agyemang Badu I Stadium for the first time this season, were less passionate and numerous than usual.

Aduana Stars were victorious after hammering Inter-Allies 6-0 last Sunday
No surprise there; their beloved team had given them precious little cheer in recent weeks, winning just two of six games in all competitions, crashing out of the Caf Champions League, having to play catch-up in their quest to retain the league title (with a game in hand, regardless), and scoring a meagre three goals in the process.

To smash six in one match – just over a ninth of their entire goal tally in last season’s ride to league glory – would thus inspire confidence in the supporters and life anew in players who had appeared somewhat lethargic in both continental and domestic football thus far in 2018. A timely boost this is, as Aduana are due to take on Madagascar’s Fosa Juniors in the Caf Confederation Cup play-offs next weekend. A win was needed against Allies to get everyone in the mood, and the margin makes it even better.

Aduana have thus sent a message loud and clear, aimed as much to the visiting Malagasies as to the early pretenders for their GPL crown: the champions are back!