Hearts of Oak claimed first leg advantage with vintage 3-1 win over Asante Kotoko in Accra in the Ghana @60 Anniversary match on Monday.
The two sides played enthralling football and after a barren first half, there was hope the goals will flow in the second stanza.
In fact goal scoring opportunities were few but the embroidery was good for the eyes and exhilarating to watch.
At the start of the second half, Obed Owusu free header on a corner kick was tipped over by goalkeeper Samuel Akurugu.
Three minutes later Awal Mohammed picked up a yellow for shirt-tagging on a marauding Winful Cobbinah but the free-kick was wasted by Vincent Atingah.
Cobbinah tried a low shot from some 20 yards but goalkeeper Annan saved needing two attempts.
Substitute Kwame Kizito punished goalkeeper Felix Annan whose attempt to dribble past the striker proved costly.
The substitute stole the ball and then shot into the gaping net for the goal in the 66th minute.
But the celebrations were transient as Awal Mohammed rose like a bird to powerfully head in Michael Akuffo’s free-kick from outside the box two minutes later.
The centre-back was left unmarked inside the box and connected home the perfectly weighted fizzing cross.
In the 88th minute captain Thomas Abbey fired in from inside the box after a ball came off Kizito who was on the ground.
On the 90th minute mark Patrick Razak turned in from close range a low cross from the right.
The Kotoko players were expecting the flag to go up but assistant 1 AS Malik kept it down.
This is a second win for the Phobians over their perennial rivals in two months after the 1-0 success at home in the Ghana Premier League.
The return leg of the anniversary match will be played in Kumasi on 28 May.