Nsoatreman beat Kotoko to recapture top spot as Accra Lions tame Heart of Lions
A first half goal by striker Stephen Diyou proved sufficient for Nsoatreman FC to defeat visiting Kumasi Asante Kotoko 1-0 in their eighth week betPawa Premier League clash at the Nana Konamansah II Park at Twumasikrom, near Nsoatre, on Wednesday, October 1, 2023.
It was the third straight victory for Nsoatreman which enabled them to recapture the top spot of the league log with 16 points ahead of Aduana Stars which briefly occupied the summit after their 4-2 defeat of Bofoakwa Tano last Wednesday.
After dominating the early part of the first half, Nsoatreman failed to utilise scoring chances that came their way partly due to the resilient defence of Kotoko pivoted around Henry Kwame Ansu.
However, when the first half seemed to be ending goalless, the home side finished off a brilliant attack on the right flank in the 41st minute. Kwabena Adu Meider set up Emmanuel Kotei who flighted a teasing cross into the Kotoko goal area which the defenders failed to stop. Unmarked Abdul Manaf Umar unleashed a left footed shot towards the post but Diyou sneaked past his marker to tap in the only goal of the match, sparking off wild celebrations by the home fans.
Kotoko's woes was further deepened a minute later as their defensive pillar Ansu was sent off by referee Maxwell Hanson for a second bookable offence amid protests by players of Kotoko who claimed that Diyou's goal was scored from an offside position.
When the two teams returned for the second half, it was clear that the numerical disadvantage had affected Kotoko as they found it difficult to dominate the exchanges and make incursions into the goal area of Nsoatreman FC.
However, the home side failed to make their numerical advantage count, and hardly threatened to score again as though they were satisfied with the lead, while their Coach Maxwell Konadu was seen urging them on from time to time to surge forward to score more goals.
Danlad to the rescue
Nsoatreman came close to increasing the lead in the 62 minute but it took the heroics of Kotoko's goalie Danlad Ibrahim who made a spectacular save to deny Manaf increasing the scoreline.
From then on, the home side only concentrated on keeping possession to defend their lead with no significant threat from Kotoko even after five minutes of added-on time.
It left Kotoko winless in the last three matches, and on the ninth position on the league log with 10 points from eight matches.
Accra Sports Stadium
Accra Lions returned to winning ways after defeating Kpando Heart of Lions 2-1 at the Accra Sports Stadium to jump from the bottom to the 14th spot of the betPawa Premier League log.
In a battle of lions, Coach Ibrahim Tanko's side secured maximum points through first-half goals from Daniel Kwame Awuni and Ali Mohammed to hand Heart of Lions their first defeat of the season, which pushed them to the bottom spot on the league table with six points without a win in seven matches.
The game started on a blistering note with Accra Lions controlling the exchanges and deservedly taking the lead after a horrendous mistake by Heart of Lions goalkeeper, Thomas Kwabena Osae, who gifted Ali Mohammed an easy chance to score with a tap-in from close range.
Matters got worse for the Kpando lads as Awuni finished off a brilliant team move in the 33rd minute of the first half.
Heart of Lions started the second half with more intensity and managed to keep Accra Lions on the back foot.
They managed to reduce the deficit in the 77th minute through Christopher Agyeman Boateng but they could not find the equalising goal as Accra Lions held on to their slim lead for their first win in the last five matches. — GNA