Today in history: Kotoko beat Hearts to break 16-year jinx

On 14th June, 2009, Kumasi Asante Kotoko beat Accra Hearts of Oak by a lone goal in their 22 Week Glo Premier League encounter at the ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.

Francis Coffie headed home the match winner from a Harrison Afful free-kick on 75th minute to aid Kotoko claim their first League win over their archrivals in Accra dating back to 1993.

For the vociferous Kotoko fans, the victory was a huge relief after playing second fiddle to their bitterest rivals for the past 16-years, and they celebrated the feat in grand style.

The victory also served as a sweet revenge for the ‘Porcupine Warriors’ after they lost to the Phobians 1-2 in their previous encounter at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, which feat also ended the unbeaten home run of Hearts of Oak who were the league leaders at the time.

With the stadium almost packed to capacity, the biggest crowd recorded at the Ohene Djan Stadium that, both teams struggled in search of their rhythm in the opening minutes

Kotoko who are yet to loose a match under new coach, Herbert Addo, had the first laugh at goal after three minutes but striker Stephen Manu headed wide from a Coffie’s corner.

On 16 minutes, Manu again shot wide after Francis Akwaffo had put him through.

That was all the Porcupine Warriors had in terms of breaking the deadlock as the first half progressed with the Phobians taking charge of the game from then on.

The midfield component of Esme Mends, Kofi Abanga, Obed Ansah and Francis Bossman had the upper-hand for the Phobians as they dictated the pace with their passing game, yet the opener remained elusive for them. Kotoko resumed the second half strongly and their trio of Jordan Opoku, Daniel Nii Adjei and Akwaffo seized the midfield completely with the Phobians chasing their shadows and finding it difficult to cope with the pace of the Porcupine Warriors.

The visitors from then resorted to long searching balls that yielded dividends as they raided the defence of the Phobians on several occasions through Coffie, who gave Hearts captain Hassan Mohammed course to worry anytime he was on the break.

Hearts Coach Kostadin Papic brought on Hamza Abdulai for Abanga on 64 minutes in his quest to reclaim the midfield battle and two minutes on Hamza missed narrowly with only Kotoko goalie Isaac Amoako to beat. It was the closest goal scoring opportunity for the Phobians in a half dictated by their archrivals.

Kotoko Coach Addo also brought on Alex Asamoah for Manu and the substitute brought some urgency into the Kotoko attack as he continued to pester the Hearts defence.

During one of such raids upfront, Hearts captain Hassan fouled Coffie outside the penalty area and the striker out-jumped his markers to head home strongly from the resultant free-kick effected by Afful with Hearts goalie Philemon McCarthy completely beaten. Charged on by the opener, Kotoko maintained their tempo and almost succeeded in authenticating the lead in added-on time but Asamoah’s connection from a Kwabena Yaro’s cross from the right missed by inches. By the loss, Hearts’ lead at the top was reduced to seven points, whilst Kotoko move to the fifth position with 10 points adrift of Hearts.

However, Hearts still managed to win 2008/09 season’s league with Kotoko coming second.

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