Kotoko silence Hearts with a 2-0 victory
First half efforts from Ivorian-import Ahmed Toure and Daniel Nii Adjei were enough for Kotoko to avenge a lone goal loss in the reverse fixture to aid their recovery process.
The clash, arguably the biggest game of the second round of the season followed tradition with the usual on and off pitch dramas aside the high turnout.
One of the scenario was when a fan of Hearts chased out a cat hiding beneath one of the pitch panels behind the Asante Kotoko goal post moments after the Porcupine Warriors had scored the second goal.
With a near capacity crowd, attendance was the largest at an Accra Hearts of Oak game this season and as usual tension was at the apex.
Characteristically, Hearts of Oak opted to enter the pitch with their players beneath a huge scarf whilst the Kotoko players surfaced unto the pitch in batches.
The game started on a low note and just when both teams were searching for their feet, Asante Kotokp broke the deadlock in the fourth minute through Toure, who blasted past Hearts dependable goalie Sammy Adjei from close range.
The goal unsettled Hearts and few minutes later Bobbie Ansah handled the ball close to his penalty area, but the resultant free-kick from midfielder Michael Akuffo went wide.
Kotoko’s midfielder Fatau Mohammed made the difference as his runs on the left flanks exposed Ansah, leading to pressure on the Hearts rearguard.
On 20 minutes, Fatau laid a perfect pass to Toure who beat his marker before finding Nii Adjei, for him to riffle a terrific shot into the top corner of the net for the second goal.
The stadium erupted in ecstasy with fans of Kotoko going wild as they teased their opponents for the Hearts’ Serbian coach Nebojsa Vucecivic to pull out the leaking Ansah for Douglas Nkrumah.
Kotoko maintained their hold on the game but Frank Boateng, Alex Asamoah and Toure squandered a number of scoring chances before the end of the first half.
Hearts resumed the second half more purposeful largely due to the introduction of Abraham Annan for Obed Ansah, who was quiet throughout the first session.
On 56 minutes, Annan was rewarded with Hearts’ best chance of the game but the shot from his unfavoured right-foot missed target narrowly.
Prior to that, Asamoah almost scored Kotoko’s third with a flick effort that missed by inches after Yaw Frimpong had put him through.
The Phobians lifted up their game as the game progressed as the presence of substitute petit midfielder Owusu Afriyie turned the tide in their favour.
Kotoko sensing victory slowed the tempo of the game with habitual seemingly faking of injuries by their players, with first goal scorer Toure being the worst culprit.
The visitors nearly paid the price for sloppy defending in added-on time but lanky defender Awal Mohammed recovered in time to clear the ball off Mahatma Otoo, with goalkeeper Isaac Amoako at his mercy to end proceedings and send the Phobian following down-hearted while their counterparts from Oseikrom went on a wild jubilation.