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Mon, Aug

Hearts pip Kotoko in Accra

Players of Hearts join Vincent Atinga (with bandaged head) to celebrate their lone goal. Picture: EMMANUEL QUAYE

Accra Hearts of Oak yesterday brought smiles  to the faces of their teeming followers when they  defeated Kumasi Asante Kotoko 1-0 to obstruct them  from climbing onto the top spot of the Ghana Premier League log.

A penalty in the dying minutes of the game, converted by Vincent Atinga, seperated the two sides and ended Kotoko’s dominance over Hearts in Accra in recent times.

The match generated keen interest among  supporters of the two teams who trooped to the Accra Sports Stadium in their numbers, but both teams failed to live up to expectation in the typical Ghana Premier League top fixture.

However, it was Kotoko who  looked the  more hungry side  when the match got underway and probed for the opener with a number of incursions into the Hearts territory.

With speedster Emmanuel Gyamfi  of Kotoko in his element, the Hearts backline of Inusa Musah, Vincent Atinga, Fatau Mohammed and Thomas Abbey had a lot of work to do to stop him  from causing any havoc,  while the surging runs of the two lateral defenders, Fatau and Abbey, were also curtailed due to Gyimah and Frank Sarfo Gyamfi’s threats.

Their inability to move foward, crippled  the Hearts attack as Kotoko kept on with the pressure.Their attacks nearly paid off in the 14th minute when a header by Ahmed Adams from a free kick missed the Hearts post narrowly.

 Hearts again had goalie Samuel Akurugu to thank when he pushed out a goal-bound shot from the line to keep the Phobians in the game.

The introduction of Patrick Razak and Cosmos Dauda  brought some urgency into the Hearts’ attack  as they took the game to the visitors, attacking more and from all angles.

 That seems to have paid off as from one of such attacks,  a shot at goal was deemed by referee Samuel Sukah to have hit the hand of a Kotoko player in the Kotoko vital area on the 84th minutes.

The referee quickly  whistled for a penalty which was met with a spontaneous roar from the crowd. While the Kotoko supporters roared to protest against the decision of the referee, the Hearts fans roared in approval of the  decision.

 The referee, however, stood his ground and when sanity prevailed, Hearts defender Atinga  elected himself to convert the penalty to give  his side the maximum points at stake.