Accra Hearts of Oak bowed out of the 2022/23 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup despite beating Real Bamako 1-0 in the second leg encounter played at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Caleb Amankwah’s 90th minute strike was not enough for the Phobians, as they couldn’t overturn the three-goal deficit suffered in Bamako last week.
There was a huge euphoria before the start of the match as former Hearts coach Samuel Boadu, Benard Don Bortey and Sulley Muntari rallied support from the teaming home fans.
Coach David Ocloo made changes to his starting line-up with Rashid Okine, Robert Addo, and goalkeeper Richmond Ayi coming in for Dennis Korsah, Mohammed Alhassan, and Eric Ofori Antwi, respectively.
Hearts started the first half on the front foot and Isaac Mensah nearly struck his side into the lead, but his close-range effort missed by inches.
Real Bamako defender Emile Kone had a glorious opportunity in the 12th minute to put his side ahead, but missed from five yards with the open goal at his mercy.
Hearts of Oak lost their rhythm halfway through the first half as they struggled to threaten the Bamako defence.
With half an hour gone, Real Bamako striker Chaka Sidibe had a clear sight at goal, but his shot failed to hit the target.
The Phobians finished the first half the stronger side with relentless pressure, and Isaac Mensah came close with a header which went wide.
Despite their good showing, Hearts ended the first half without testing Real Bamako goalkeeper Germain Bethe.
Hearts made three substitutions at the start of the second half with Mohammed Alhassan, Salifu Ibrahim, and Obeng Junior.
Moussa Kone forced a brilliant save from Hearts of Oak goalkeeper Richmond Ayi in the 50th minute of the game.
Hearts of Oak’s substitutes, Salifu and Obeng Junior, nearly combined for an opener, but goalkeeper Bethe pulled off an excellent save.
Hearts of Oak were in a rush to get the opener and indeed affected the quality in the final third as Real Bamako curtailed most of their incursions.
Substitute Junior Kaba had a big chance to win the game for the Phobians in the 86th minute, but his effort was off target.
Caleb Amankwah delivered a spectacular strike in the 90th minute, but his strike was not enough for the Phobians.