KUMASI Asante Kotoko registered their first win in the second round of the First Capital Plus Premier League with a 3-2 victory over tottering Accra Great Olympics, in a dramatic 18th week top fixture to breathe life into their campaign.
Kotoko was not convincing on the afternoon, but Dauda Mohammed’s opener and Ahmed Toure’s brace was enough to damage Olympics’ ego as Edmund Sakyi and Daniel Appiah brought them back twice into the game after going down.
With the likes of Richard Kingson, Godwin Attram, Dan Quaye, Francis Okai, Dotse Agbashie missing from the Olympics’ starting 11, their struggles in the opening minutes was quite understandable.
While Kotoko attempted to maintain possession and carry the ball into the Olympics area, the hosts did the reverse – resorting to long balls to their short markers, neutralizing any advantage they have.
Enjoying greater possession, Kotoko kept the Oly area boiling and recorded as many as five corner kicks as early as the seventh minute, one of which fetched them the opener as a Dawda Mohammed flick beat the entire Oly backline including goalkeeper Osei Boateng who was caught ball watching most of the time the Reds flooded his area. That was in the 18th minute.
The Dade boys emerged from their shells and attempted to put Kotoko under pressure but the two opportunities that came their way did not even threaten Kotoko. It rather exposed the inexperience and lack of purpose on the side of their attack.
While Adom Ampofo, Edmund Sakyi and Godwin Otto committed blunder after blunder at the back, the usual telepathy between Emmanuel Amartey and Isaac Nyarko was non-existent while the porous attack of Kwame Boateng and Daniel Appiah kept on fluffing the chances that came their way.
With the confusion very obvious, Kotoko took advantage and controlled the game with Richard Mpong, Ahmed Toure and Prince Baffoe having a field day.
Somehow, Olympics pulled the redeemer against the run of play in the 40th minute through Edmund Sakyi who connected a rebound of goalkeeper Ofori Antwi’s save from a dead-ball taken by Oly’s Ronal Bortey.
But Kotoko had the leader again in time-added-on of the first half as Toure bundled in from a corner kick with the Oly defence watching on. That followed a beautiful save from goalkeeper Osei Boateng of Kotoko’s penalty taken by Toure when poor Otto brought his marker down in the goal area.
Olympics resumed the second half an improved side and carried the game to the Asanteman Warriors and came close to scoring but Kwame Boateng’s strike from close range was pushed to corner.
But Appiah made his presence felt in the game with a spectacular equaliser when he broke free from his marker to pick a pass, advanced into the Kotoko goal area before placing a grounder that beat Antwi in goal for the Porcupine Warriors.
That brought the ‘Dade’ supporters to their feet but before they could resume their seats, they were stunned again by Toure who capitalized on the weakness in the Oly rear to slot home the match winner.
The worst happened when the brightest spot in the Oly side, Francis Mantey was stretched off the pitch and carried off in an ambulance after clashing with a Kotoko defender in an aerial challenge.
Both sides then effected substitutions, but while Kotoko massed up in their area to defend the lead, Olympics continued with their comedy of errors which, if not straighten out, could land them in deep trouble as they languish profoundly in the relegation waters.
By Andrew Nortey