Asante Kotoko stun Hearts of Oak to win President's Cup

Author: Daniel Kenu
Asante Kotoko defeated Hearts of Oak 2-1 to win the President's Cup

Defending champions, Asante Kotoko, extended their hold on the annual trophy to six after defeating arch-rivals, Hearts of Oak, 2-1 in a replay of the September 8 rained off match at the Baba Yara Stadium.

The match was a replay of their September 8 fixture which was rained off after just five minutes of play at the same venue.

Hearts have won the trophy four times since it was instituted in 2003 by the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) in honour of the sitting President of the Republic.

Coach Maxwell Konadu and his players celebrating the win

Hearts striker Kofo Kordzi opened the scoring for the Phobians against the run of play when he converted a 37th minute spot kick. Kordzi was impeded in the box before the ball finally hit the hands of defender Ampem Dacosta.

Hearts shot themselves in the foot 10 minutes later as defender Mohammed Alhassan scored an own goal to make it 1-1.
Naby Keita netted the match winner in the 78th minute for Kotoko as Hearts struggled to hold Kotoko but rather chased their shadows for the most part of the game.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, in whose honour the match was played, was absent but his Minister of Sports, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, took the ceremonial kick-off.

Naby Keita celebrating his winning goal. Picture: Emmanuel Baah

Hearts kicked briskly but it was Burkinabe international Songne Yacouba who took the game to the visitors. the striker threatened to score a couple of times but failed to take full advantage of the chances that came his way as the Phobians bounced back into the game albeit momentarily. But Kotoko proved their match fitness and compact play from then on.

Kordzi scored to the chagrin of the home fans but when Mohammed Alhassan scored an own goal, the stadium was ‘charged’ once again as the vociferous Kotoko fans called for more goals.

Coach Maxwell Konadu and his Hearts counterpart, Kim Grant (right)

Indeed, Kotoko could have recorded a cricket scoreline and, perhaps, cancelled the infamous 4-1 thrashing by Hearts some 10 years ago but they appeared content with the slim lead.

Player after player, the Porcupine warriors wasted their chances as Hearts struggled to keep the pace mostly initiated by the skipper for the day, Emmanuel Gyamfi and Augustine Okrah.

Despite their back footing, Kordzi could have made it two for Hearts but blew a golden opportunity after rounding up the goalkeeper.

 

It was a well-deserved victory for Kotoko and a welcome silverware for Coach Maxwell Konadu, who took charge of the team as the new coach two weeks ago.