18 May

4 Things We Learned As Magical Benhalib’s Brace Secures a Point for Raja

Aduana Stars’ unconvincing campaign in the Confederations Cup continued as a Mahamoud Benhalib brace almost condemned the Ogya Boys to their second consecutive defeat.
 
Coach Yusif Abubakar has Nathaniel Asamoah to thank for rescuing a point for the hosts. The match was of pivotal importance for both teams. Who needed to claim maximum points to keep their contrasting hopes in the competition alive. 
 
Aduana Stars came into the game off a defeat to Asec Mimosas with Raja Casablanca drawing with AS Vita at home.
The opening minutes of the game hinted towards a scrappy, cagey affair, with neither team able to put their stamp on the game. 
 
This did not last for long, however, as after around ten minutes, it suddenly sprang into life with Mahmoud Benhalib beating an offside trap to slot home the opener for the visitors. 
 
By this point in the match, Aduana Stars were certainly in the ascendancy, throwing more men forward in search of an equalizer, yet a number of chances went begging. A great opportunity fell to Aduana forward Derrick Sassraku but the striker failed to connect home from an Oba Ikama cross. The goal did, however, come soon after. 
 
After a spell of pressure down the right-hand side saw Oba Ikama drawing parity for the hosts. Mabidi Lema restored the lead for the visitors to end the half. 
 
A spirited second half performance from the Ghanaians saw them equalizing through Caleb Amankwah’s header but the joy was short-lived as Mahmoud Benhalib but the visitors  in front again only for substitute Nathaniel Asamoah to equalize in added time.
 
Below are four things we learned in the six- goal thriller.
 
Paul Aidoo’s superb form continues
 
Aidoo has always been something of an enigma at Aduana. It’s just his first season but he’s already on his way to becoming a cult-hero. His talent is undoubted. He was resolute, composed and focused all the day. 
 
He was confident in starting Aduana’s attacks from the back but unfortunately for him, his centre back partner, Stephen Anokye Badu didn’t come to party hence the misunderstanding between the duo culminating in the goals scored by the visitors. 
 
All the goals the Ghanaian champions conceded were through individual errors which have been avoided on any good day but….
 
The defensive problems under Yusif Abubakar are not going to be cured over night but in Paul Aidoo, they do have one of the best in the country.
 
Toothless Aduana set for long qualification battle
 
In general Aduana were OK on Wednesday afternoon, until they got to the final third. There were plenty of huffing and puffing from Yusif Abubakar’s men but very little in the way of cutting edge in the box.
 
One or two chances went begging in the first half thanks to decent saves by Anas Zniti. The second half was no different from the first as Adauna’s attack kept spurning chances that came their way with Sam Adams and Nathaniel Asamoah, the culprits. 
 
The latter however got Aduana Stars the much important equalizer to avoid a second consecutive defeat. The Ogya Boys sits bottom with appoint trailing group leaders, AS Vita by three points.
 
Wasteful Adams disappoints
 
Sam Adams is one of the most talented players in the local league; his ability is there for all to see. The attacking midfielder continues to frustrate though with brilliant displays mixed in worrying performances. 
 
Yesterday was the latter as he failed to take chances afforded to him at NAB park. Clean through in the first half, following a wonderful pass by Noah Martey, Adams never looked happy and could only manage a weak shot straight at the keeper much to the dismay of their fans.
 
His woes continued in the second half with two point blank chances inside the box going begging for Adams when it seemed easier to score.
 
It is only a matter of time until Aduana Stars make a change in the dugout
 
To Abubakar’s credit, he brought on Nathaniel Asamoah, who got them the equalizer in stoppage time, but it was hard to tell as they continued to struggle to lay a glove on Raja. 
 
Not only were the tactics wrong, but it as has been the case for weeks now, he looked bereft of any inspiration. The players, as talented as they are, aren’t responding to his ideas. 
 
Speculation in Dormaa that, Aduana Stars will make a managerial change will only increase, and it is becoming harder by the week to make a case for Abubakar.
 
By: Godfred Budu Yeboah

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