The old ‘64 Battalion’ squad of Accra Hearts of Oak yesterday posted a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Kumasi Asante Kotoko to win a special Independence Day Cup match played at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The two sides drew 2-2 in regulation time.
Defender Gabriel Opoku Ware and Frank Boateng missed their kicks for Asante Kotoko while Emmanuel Osei, Joseph Tagoe (Bobby Short), Dan Quaye and Alex Techie Menson converted their kicks to see off the Porcupine Warriors in style.
The game brought together the 2000 to 2005 generation of players that featured for the two rivals with a number of them featuring in the 2004 Confederation Cup finals between them which the Phobians triumphed.
Eben Armah Dida, Dan Quaye, Acquah Harrison, Amankwah Mireku, Emmanuel Donkor, Lawrence Adjah Tetteh, Ablade Morgan, Ekow Ghansah, Charles Taylor, among others featured for Hearts while George Owu, Michael Ofosu Appiah, Gabriel Opoku Ware, Joseph Hendrick, Godfred Yeboah, Yussif Chibsah, Godwin Ablordey and Isaac Kwakye featured for the Reds.
Hearts started in a whirlwind fashion, bombarding the Kotoko territory with waves of attacks as the fans cheered them on thinking they will run riot.
Wisdom Abbey got a deserved opener in the 10th minute when he fired into the roof of Kotoko’s net after a remarkable combination by Wisdom Agblexo and Charles Taylor.
The ‘Rainbow’ men pressed the Kotoko defence and had a penalty when defender Gabriel Opoku Ware brought down Agblexo in the goal area.
It was expertly converted by Taylor to double the lead.
Kotoko gathered momentum and carried the game to their opponents as they made daring incursions to the area of the Phobians.
Led by their tormentor-in-chief, Eric Bekoe, Kotoko made several attempts but found Dida a difficult hurdle to beat.
The constant pressure took a toll on Dida who failed to make a firm save of a free kick taken by Bekoe as the ball slipped through and rolled into the net to reduce the deficit.
On the stroke of half time, Agblexo of Hearts and Kotoko’s Joe Sam were expelled after the two engaged in a war of word which nearly became violent.
Back from recess Kotoko lifted their game in search of the equaliser and brought on Frank Osei for skipper Isaac Kwakye whose presence added some bite to Kotoko’s play.
Osei had the easiest task of scoring from a blunder by Hearts substitute goalkeeper, Laud Quartey.
He had another glorious opportunity to win the game for the old Porcupine Warriors in regulation time but his strike was saved by Quartey.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY