Faisal can't break Hearts after 20 years
Alhaji Gruzah and his King Faisal thought a second win in fourteen visits to a now weakened Hearts was a given when they met on Sunday, but the status quo remained.
The Kumasi side made sure to give Hearts a scare in the corresponding first round tie which finished 1-1 at the Baba Yara Stadium, and this was not an improved show from Faisal.
Just like in the first round where Kofi Abanga controlled the tempo of the game, Faisal gave Hearts too much space in the middle of the park.
David Duncan came fresh from a 3-0 win against Division 1 side Tamale Utrecht in the FA Cup, and momentum lay with them. Having themselves beaten Dynamos 4-0 also in FA Cup, Faisal were also short on quality after failing to dig deep into the transfer market.
"That was a problem for us because we could not get the kind of players we wanted," Gruzah said, adding that the pool of talent he has at the moment are "not too bad."
The owner of the club may have been counting on Prince Boateng to score, after all, the have not lost a game in which the winger gas scored in this season. He could not score, and Hearts duly won.
However Faisal still are firmly behind Hearts in historic meetings - the two sides have now met thirty times since the Kumasi side were first promoted into the top flight in the 1995/96 season and Hearts have only lost five of those, drawing ten and winning the rest.
The next meeting of the two could only happen this season in the FA Cup, should they continue their upward trajectory in that competition. Otherwise, weakened or not, the Phobians remain bosses of the Hearts-Faisal derby.
And just like in their first ever meeting in 1995 in Kumasi, where Godwin Ablordey's penalty sealed a win, it took another penalty - scored by Robin Gnagne - for the capital-based club to win eighteen years later. C'est la vie.