Monday Aug 03, 2015. 00:49
Hearts of Oak slipped further to the relegation zone as they were dealt a 2-1 defeat by arch rivals Asante Kotoko on Sunday in Accra.
The champions had it all to do after suffering an armed robbery attack in the morning of the game.
The club’s management however managed to motivate their players to go ahead with the game and to even secure the deserved result against the Phobians.
Kotoko were the quickest off the blocks as they created some chances in the opening minutes of the game.
Talented Dauda Mohammed was causing all the problems for the Phobians with his silky skills.
It was one of the forward’s ingenuity that saw Frank Sarfo Gyamfi released on the far side and with a great opportunity to cross but Robin Gnagne was around to shepherd the ball to touch to ease the pressure.
Hearts however started to effect the game after 10 minutes with Foovi Aguidi and Kenneth Okoro linking well on top of the attack.
Okoro’s snap shot in the 12th
minute almost caught Eric Ofori Antwi off guard but the Ghana U20 goalkeeper parried away well into touch.
The game was however turned on its head in the 17th
minute when referee Yaw Ametepey awarded a doubtful penalty to Hearts after Isaac Oduro went down under a harmless challenge from goalkeeper Ofori Antwi.
The Kotoko players and fans didn’t take kindly to the decision leading to a temporal hold up as the fans threw missiles onto the pitch.
Calm was restored minutes later for captain Robin Gnagne to take the penalty for Hearts but the Ivorian’s strike was saved well by goalkeeper Antwi to perhaps serve as poetic justice.
Kotoko launched a quick counter attack to win a corner kick which was headed in by captain Amos Frimpong to give the visitors the lead after 25 minutes.
Hearts looked for a swift response from the restart of the game with Eric Kumi breaking free to feed Foovi Aguidi but Ahmed Adams was available to snuff out the threat.
Adams was minutes later booked for a rash challenge on Emmanuel Hayford.
But it was Kotoko that should have extended their lead eight minutes to recess after some good work from Dauda Mohammed to free up some space to send in a driven cross but Obed Owusu was not quick enough to make the vital connection.
Kotoko held onto the lead into recess leaving Hearts with all to do in the second half of the game.
The Phobians started the second period with intent as Kenneth Okoro fired a shot from the edge of the box just from the restart but the strike was always serving wide.
Hearts’ stand-in coach Eddie Ansah threw own the experienced Richard Yamoah for Emmanuel Hayford as he bid to study the midfield.
That change seemed to have worked as the Phobians began dominating the middle of the game.
Kotoko’s Dauda Mohammed was however having the game of his life as he kept on terrorizing the Hearts defence with his trickery.
Gilbert Fiamenyo was then introduced in the 53rd
minute as Eddie Ansah clearly went in search for the all-important equalizer and they got it moments later through Musah Inusah.
The midfielder rose furthest to head in a floated ball in the 60th
minute to give the Hearts fans something to cheer about.
Hearts all of the sudden looked rejuvenated as they went on to pile more pressure on the Kotoko defence for the go-ahead goal.
They were however pegged back instead as miscommunication between goalkeeper Tetteh Luggard and Robin Gnagne saw Dauda Mohammed sneak in behind to poke in what eventually was the winner with 10 minutes left to play.