Sports News of Monday, 25 December 2017
Visiting Accra Hearts of Oak S/C displayed tactical discipline to hold archrivals, Asante Kotoko S/C, to a pulsating 0-0 draw game in a second leg tie to win the Ghana @ 60 Independence Cup at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi, on Sunday.
The Phobians edged past the Porcupine Warriors on a 3-1 aggregate score-line, having beaten their opponents in the first leg.
Kotoko, led in attack by Sadique Adams and speedster Emmanuel Gyamfi, carried the game to their opponents in the initial stages, and created some decent chances, but goalie Ben Mensah prevented the homers from scoring.
Using the right flank to their advantage, the homers nearly broke the deadlock in the ninth minute from a well-rehearsed defence-splitting move, but goalie Mensah was called to duty to save a Kwame Boahen’s short-range shot.
Hearts kept their composure in the ensuing all-attacking play by Kotoko, and against the run of play, midfielder Winful Cobbina took advantage of a faulty pass, ran deep into the Kotoko vital area and unleashed a thunderbolt in the 25th minute, which missed the target by inches.
The last 15 minutes of the first session was fought fiercely by the two combatants with both sides struggling to seize control of the midfield and this prevented either side from creating any meaningful chance for the opener.
Hearts resumed the second half the more aggressive side and in Aminu Mohammed and Samudeen Ibrahim, the Phobians found an impregnable pair of defencemen who kept the slippery Kotoko attack at bay throughout the second half.
The homers were awarded two quick corner kicks in the 75 and 76th minutes, having mounted series of pressure on the Phobians, but the ensuing kicks by Gyamfi were all wasted.
Hearts made a tactical change on the stroke of full time, bringing on Malik Akowuah for Winful Cobbina, and this enabled the visitors to have much of the ball control as they ended the encounter as the victorious.