Rivals face off: Kotoko vs Hearts : Vital statistics and preview

Head to head
-Asante Kotoko are undefeated in their last 7 games against Hearts of Oak (W2, D5).

-The coach of the champions, Didi Damani is also unbeaten against Hearts of Oak in 6 matches in all competitions (W2, D4).

-However he has failed to mastermind a victory over the Phobians in two attempts at home.

-The two sides have had 100 league encounters, with Kotoko winning 31, losing 33 and drawing 36 against Hearts of Oak.

-The first league encounter between them came in 1958, which the Phobians won 4-2 but it was replayed because the game ended abruptly and once again the Accra based side thrashed the Porcupine Warriors by 5 goals to 2 at the Kumasi Jackson Park, now the Jubilee Park.

-Kotoko have engaged Hearts of Oak on 48 occasions at home, with the league champions winning 17, losing 18 and drawing 13 against the Continental Club Masters (Hearts of Oak).

-Both sides have won 17 apiece in their league games in Kumasi only, with 12 of them ending in draws.

-The Phobians have gone 3 seasons without a win at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi, which is their poorest run in the Ghana Premier League against the Porcupine Warriors (L1, D2).

-The league champions (Kotoko) are trailing their bitterest rivals when it comes to matches played since the introduction of the Ghana Premier in the 1993/94 season (W8, L14, D16).

-Only 4 league games have happened between them in the month of February, with Kotoko winning 2, losing 1 and drawing 1 against Hearts.

-Last season, Kotoko won the first round encounter by a goal to nil, however the second round ended in a scoreless draw.

Current form and team news
The usual euphoria associated with the biggest game in Ghana football calendar is low due to a shift of attention from domestic football to the ongoing African Cup of nations, with Ghana playing  Ivory Coast on Sunday.

Also Kotoko and Hearts of Oak  haven’t found their feet in the First Capital Plus Premier League, making their clash to look ordinary.

-The Porcupine Warriors are lying 5 on the league with 2 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat after 5 games.

-The league champions have won 1 and drawn 1 in their two home games.

-Kotoko managed a goalless draw against Wa All Stars on Wednesday prior to this big clash.

-Striker Ahmed Toure, skipper Jordan Opoku, Christpher Bonney and Joseph Addo were left out of Kotoko’s squad to Wa for various reasons, but most of them will be available for the weekend clash.

-The Ivorian import, Ahmed Toure will be unleashed on the Phobians, after he scored on this same ground against them in the Super 2 and also the last time he played in the Ghana league was 2011 and he managed to score against Hearts.

-Toure has just a goal from 4 games played.
-Kotoko’s top scorer is Dauda Mohammed, he has 2 goals; he came on from the bench to score all two goals.

-The champions wish to win the Ghana Premier on four consecutive seasons, which will be their best in the elite division of Ghana Football and will help them equal their best league title winning streak which last happened in the 1980’s.

Hearts of Oak
-The Phobians are yet to find their rhythm in the 2014-15, lying 13 after 5 games.

-They have won just a game, lost 2 and drawn 2.
-They have a problem holding on to their lead this season, having lost 4 goals to 2 after taking a 2-1 lead against Berekum Chelsea and were denied of victory after going up twice in their two all draw to Medeama.

-Gilbert Fiamenyo is the leading top scorer in the ongoing Ghana Premier League, with 5 goals, but failed to score in his last two league games.

-Kofi Abanga, the general skipper of the team is likely to start on Saturday after being absent for some time.

-The presence of Reuben Gnagne, the skipper of Hearts of Oak will give some stability to the shaky defence of Hearts of Oak. The Ivorian missed a couple of matches because he was nursing an injury.

-A defeat will put much pressure on coach Herbert Addo, because he came with much expectation but his team is yet to glitter.

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