ACCC 2018: Baiden’s double helps GRA hold El Sharkia
The countdown was finally over and the action started: The 30th edition of the Africa Cup for Club Champions, Abuja 2018.
The Abuja National Stadium was filled to capacity as all 6 male clubs were in action on match day one. Not a a very good day for the host but for hockey lovers and enthusiast, this was by far the best opening day the ACCC had witnessed in years.
Eastern Company 4-0 Niger Flickers
The former champions were back to re-claim the trophy they lost to El Sharkia last year and their first game sent a message to all. The host nation were expecting a better result in this opening fixture but to no avail as three goals from penalty corners and a field goal was enough to hand Eastern Company their first victory.
Aboutaleb Mahmoud got the opener five minutes into the game from a perfectly worked penalty corner beating Baba Abdul kadir in post. The home crowd began cheering on the Flickers who tried coming back into the game but Shehata Mostafa in post for the Egyptians proved a pillar with excellent goalkeeping.
The stadium was silenced in the 32nd minute as Eastern doubled their lead courtesy Rashwan Mohamed. The Egyptians from this point were in total control and could have increased their tally but failed to capitalize on their numerous penalty corners. Finally the remedy was found as Ibrahim Amr converted two penalty corners; first in the 43rd minute and the second a minute later to give Eastern Company a commanding 4-0 lead. Maximum points gained as time run out.
El Sharkia 4 – 4 GRA
The second game was a thriller as it produced eight goals. Two goals inside three minutes and everyone thought El Sharkia were on course to tear GRA apart but the spirited West African side came back to level and go ahead and later salvage a point on the 60th minute.
The first quarter saw both sides very determined and eager to make a mark. The ghanaians were however the better side in the first quarter but failed to reflect their performance on the score sheet. The second quarter was an entire different story as the defending champions went 2-0 up inside three minutes; Abdel Rahman in the 26th minute and skipper Sameer Edres getting the second from as penalty corner to give the holders a halftime lead.
Baiden Michael reduced the deficit in the third quarter with an excellent strike before restoring parity five minutes later with an easy one compared to his first. Kwasi Anim-Assah brought the entire stadium into wild mood as he put GRA infront in the 52nd minute. What a comeback!!
GRA were on course to snatch a historic win when Ahmed Ahmed scored four minutes later to level. Two goals inside the final two minutes ensured both teams shared the points; Ahmed Gamal in the 59th minute for Sharkia and Opoku Ernest with the leveler on the stroke of full-time from a penalty corner.
Exchequers 1 -0 Kada Stars
The day’s final game was an encounter between champions; Exchequers (Ghana league Champions)and Kada stars (Nigeria Super League Champions). The highly anticipated match saw Exchequers take the lead as early as the 4th minute through Ankomah Emmanuel.
The goal seemed to be the match winner as both teams went in search for as goal but so it wasn’t. Nine penalty corners awarded after the opener but both teams failed to find the post. An end-to-end encounter saw both coaches as well as spectators on their feet throughout.
The co-host club had lost the game but the home spectators left the stadium excited as they witnessed an exciting, pulsating game; a match that cannot be forgotten by both teams.
The action continues tomorrow Sunday 16th December, 2018 with Kada Stars facing El Sharkia in the first game. Eastern Company will then play Exchequers with GRA men and Niger Flickers facing off in the day’s last game.