Dubbed Ghana’s ‘El Clasico,’ it was quite an afternoon of good football and very crucial to the host who were determined to crash the jinx surrounding the visitors’ unbeaten away form this season.
Kotoko won the first round of the league and the President’s Cup – both on Hearts’ soil and were poised to establish their dominance, but Hearts would not budge.
In fact, fans of the two clubs witnessed 90 minutes of stimulating football with the players demonstrating daring character throughout the afternoon.
At one stage, it was a brilliant exhibition of skills and wits and in another, both sides could simply not resist the gritty nature of the game, especially the second half.
The crowd? It was just superb as there were few seats left unoccupied. Those present went yelling and applauding throughout the game. It was really a must-watch!
With the two teams creating some half chances, Emmanuel Gyamfi stole the ball off dawdling Dauda Mohammed and released a thunderbolt that was bravely punched into play by Soulama Abdoulaye in post for Hearts. However, Kwame Boateng, lurking around the vital area, connected to unlock the game with an opener in the 17th minute.
Hearts picked up the challenge, piled pressure but could not fetch the equaliser until six minutes into the second half when Razak Patrick, ghosted away from his two markers and put the ball to the blind side of on-rushing keeper Ernest Sowah.
If Kotoko’s goal was received with thunderous applause, then was ear-splitting when Hearts cancelled the lead.
At this stage, Hearts came more into the picture and seemed to dictate the pace as they seized the midfield giving Razak Patrick a field day – but most of his onslaughts were either stopped by Kotoko’s rear or he fumbled with it.
Kotoko heaved a sigh when substitute Paul Acquah fired a pile driver that missed target by a hair breadth in the 87th minute.
Both teams worked furiously to have the bragging right but the scoreline still stood at 1-1 on an afternoon of stupendous football.
From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi