Holding out a lone victory advantage from the first leg in Accra a fortnight ago courtesy Salasi Adjei, the Phobians look set to welcome back in-form striker Gilbert Fiamenyo who was sidelined because of ill health and will hope to maximize the opportunity to feature in continental club competition for the first time in as many years with progress.
While Hearts of Oak will are experiencing a turbulent campaign in the Ghana Premier League, which has seen them plunged into the relegation zone, their opponents are enjoying good fortunes in Benin, where they are leaders in their domestic league after six e matches.
Hearts beat the then Benin Champions in 1984, 4-0 on aggregate, but will be first to admit that if AS Police replicate their compact play put on display in the first leg in Accra and spiced it up with some attacking features, they could be a handful for the visitors.
Despite playing as debutants in the continental club championship, AS Police remain unbeaten in their domestic front in five matches; three victories and three draws ensuring they are at the apex of the table and could pose a danger to Hearts of Oak’s dream of advancing if underrated.
Without a doubt, Hearts of Oak, per the number of scoring opportunities created and wasted in the first match, their experience and track record in the competition appear favoured to advance, but their poor run in the local front that has seen them record three victories, two draws and four defeats in nine matches are the reason the Phobians may not be all fearsome presently.
While Hearts of Oak’s defence has shipped in goals in all but one game in nine matches locally, their host, AS Police is credited to have gone an estimated 455 minutes without conceding a goal as the latter exhibit great discipline game after another.
Having amassed 12 points of a possible 18 in the domestic league, the homers will be demanding their due with a strategy that could frustrate Coach Herbert Addo’s charges in Benin, where the battle lines are clearly drawn.
With Hearts of Oak certain to count on in-form Fiamenyo, who has hit the back of the net five times in as many matches and hardworking midfielder, Richard Yamoah to engineer the ball supply to the former, AS Police, will pin their confidence in Miracob Tchato, an attacker who has proved great maturity and confidence for a player who is only 20-years as well as his counterpart on the flanks Dihibrial Naim to trouble the Phobians.