It took a while for the lone goal of the match to come, but a thrilling up and down rivalry match between Medeama SC and Karela United captivated Ghana’s Western Region before Vincent Atingah’s 81st minute winner lifted hosts Medeama to a 1-0 victory on Saturday. With both teams tied on points in fourth place, the three points was a crucial shot in the arm for the Mauve and Yellow’s title aspirations and now Medeama are within three points of Ghana Premier League leaders Accra Hearts of Oak.
The match started off relatively even but Medeama slowly gained more and more of a foothold as the match wore on and took full control by the second half. However, manager Yaw Preko and his charges struggled to find a way past the wall that was Karela goalkeeper Richard Baidoo who was in fantastic form on the day. The first serious threat to Baidoo’s goal came when Mumuni Zakaria did excellently to fake a Karela defender out of his boots before cutting inside and smashing his effort off the post and out, with Baidoo having no chance. Baidoo then came up with a brilliant reflex save a few minutes later when Medeama had a free header from a free-kick.
Karela called Medeama keeper Frank Boateng into action around the 30 minute mark and had a penalty appeal towards the end of the half that was quickly dismissed by the referee, but upon viewing of the replay looked to perhaps have been a foul committed by Medeama in their penalty area. In the second half Medeama turned up the pressure and the last third of the match featured an overwhelming push by the hosts. In the 78th minute former Right to Dream player Prince Agyemang was well set up, but his turn and shot from close range was turned away by human wall Baidoo, who may have been the Man of the Match despite his team’s eventual loss.
The 81st minute finally put Medeama over their rivals after Baidoo turned in another excellent save to set up a corner kick. Defender Fatawu Sulemana headed the service on goal and Baidoo managed to repel the shot attempt despite being obstructed, but his save popped up in the air for the giant Atingah to nod home with ease. Baidoo and Karela protested furiously with accusations of malicious obstruction but the referee rightly allowed the goal to stand and Medeama finally got their deserved goal.
Highlights from the Western Region derby are below.