Citi Sports editor Nathan Quao pens his column and today, his attentions are on the MTN FA Cup semi-final and round 7 of the Premier League starring Liverpool’s defence.
Rainbow day in Obuasi
For Hearts of Oak, the last few weeks have been very pleasing.
Five of their players were very instrumental in Ghana’s success in the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations and those five- Patrick Razak, Winfull Cobbinah, Vincent Atingah, Thomas Abbey and Kwame Kizito- were back in the team for the MTN FA Cup semi-final against Wa All Stars.
Hearts of Oak walked away with a 2-1 victory and it could have been heavier, to be honest. Hearts looked very dangerous every time they went on the attack.
Razak found his goal with no difficulty while defensive uncertainties helped Kizito grab the second. Another opportunity for Hearts hit the post when the Wa All Stars rearguard went to sleep.
All Stars were simply flat for large portions of the game and their late awakening just could not save them. The industry was great but they had given themselves too much to do.
Hearts are back in an FA Cup for the first time in 17 years and that in itself is huge.
I thought that their decision to prioritise the competition ahead of the league was a wrong one simply because they were not out of the league race.
They still had a good chance in my opinion and matches against Wa All Stars, Dwarfs, Medeama and Inter Allies would not be hurdles too high to surmount.
But it seems Frank Nuttal and his men believe that they have a good chance of beating either Medema or Kotoko in the final on October 29.
We wish them well and we also say congratulations to the organisers of the MTN FA Cup. They have done really well to get create the right buzz in Obuasi and to get the fans to appear.
Massive thumbs up to AshantiGold for pitching in and giving their ground out for the semi-finals. Their CEO, Cudjoe Fianoo, told me that they were very happy to host the teams and their fans and they did a great job.
I get the feeling the final in Tamale will even be better.
Liverpool’s leaky walls and Conte’s error
I love the Premier League and what I love more is the fact that it is live on Citi 97.3 FM every match day. Nothing beats that at all.
And because the Premier League is the world’s greatest soap opera, episode 7 served us two high points.
First, Manchester City’s brilliant job at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea leading to the 1-0 win.
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are so good that beating them requires the opponent to be almost physical and brutish. Ander Herrera’s marking job on Eden Hazard and the duo of Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama ganging up on Ngolo Kante are lovely examples of that.
But Pep Guardiola went his own way and decided to go at Chelsea. I do not know whether that decision caused Chelsea to back off try to play on the break or Conte’s decision to use Cesar Azpilicueta led to the loss but the Blues were strangely off and timid, I dare say.
And the tide went against them when they lost Alvaro Morata to a hamstring problem. Willian was thrown on but that even made things worse because Chelsea had the needed pace but they did not have anyone in the Man City penalty area to play to.
Eventually, Man City’s pressing forced Chelsea to play balls up-field to ghosts and the recurrent loss of possession led to the sequence which ended with De Bruyne celebrating and Chelsea picking the ball from the net.
Conte was beaten by two things: his own concerns or fears and Man City’s ambition.
The other main point of the weekend was Liverpool’s poor defence.
That has been said so many times but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and his players decided to give us one more reason why the Reds needed to get defenders.
Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip took the horrible decision of looking at each other instead of staying compact and going backwards to deal with the pass from Jonjo Shelvey.
What was the result? A goal and the more ridiculous aspect of events was that Joselu, Newcastle’s goal scorer, could have missed the chance too.
Who is at fault? Is it Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff? Are they not going through defensive drills? Do they not review the tapes of matches they play? What about the players? Why are they not taking responsibility on the pitch?
These errors could very well have an impact on any title-winning dreams Liverpool may have and not seeing the gravity of the problems will come back to slap the Reds in the face.
Football is that cruel.
That’s it for this week.
International football returns over the weekend and we will talk about the Black Stars next week whether they win, lose or draw.
Hit me up on Twitter @nathan_quao