Sports News of Monday, 27 January 2020
It was a game that brought back memories of the golden era of Hearts versus Kotoko matches and also offered an idea into the future of Ghana football.
It was also a game that had everything required of a match touted as an exhibition of one of world football’s biggest rivalries.
From the explosive start by Hearts to the thumping heading goal by Blay to the penalty that sealed victory for Kotoko, Ghana’s El Classico for the first time in ages lived up to its billing.
On the pitch, the football exhibited by the two teams was great, Hearts started on the stronger foot only to succumb to a header from the former Medeama man.
Kotoko through the immaculate touches and runs of Mudisuru took control of the game and forced Hearts into their shells.
Mudisuru will then be stretched off and be replaced by Ameyaw who could not replicate the form showed by his colleague. Hearts will regain control of the game and not allow their ‘enemies’ into it again.
Powered by the midfield duo of Nettey and Ansah Botchway, the Phobians took the game to their opponents but the lack of a creative force was apparent as they struggled to breakdown Kotoko’s defensive wall which had been well-laid by the experienced Maxwell Konadu.
Esso will pounce on a loose ball in the penalty area and draw parity with another powerful header.
From then on it looked like only one team could get a goal – Hearts. And it looked like so until the 16-year-old wonder kid Mathew Cudjoe got his turn.
Unfazed by the atmosphere and ‘coached’ by Ghana’s greatest goalscorer, Anim Cudjoe proved a handful for the Hearts defence.
He danced his way through them, created spaces for himself and teammates and played a significant part in the penalty incident which was converted by Naby Keita in the dying embers of the game to give Kotoko the three available points and bragging rights.
In football, every victory irrespective of the opponent is marked with celebrations but a last-gasp victory against an arch-rival is marked with ‘wild celebrations’ that travels through the night to the following day.
It was therefore not surprising when ghanaweb.com reporters visited the team’s Maple Hotel lodge and saw players and club officials in still in jubilant mood.
Carrying a huge ‘boom box’ on his shoulders is club PRO Kennedy Boakye-Ansah who was jamming to Kuami Eugene’s ‘Adwenfi’.
In the club’s bus were players and musician Kuami Eugene having their own party with back-to-back hits of the ‘RockStar’.
Executives of the clubs were seen in a positive mood, hi-fiving each other.
Some loyal fans of the club also joined the party and so was former coach Hans van der Pluijm.