Fans of Kumasi Asante Kotoko may still be cursing Referee Samuel Suker for blowing a doubtful penalty against them to break the eight-year jinx of Accra Hearts of Oak not winning at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Kumasi Asante Kotoko marched to the pitch walking backwards, which was awkward after Hearts coach Frank Nuttal has entered to stir the supporters into battle spirit, but it was Kotoko coach Croatian Zdravko Lugarusic who receive the loudest cheers when he also waved the reds.
Hearts won the toss and the fabulous lads kicked off in grand fashion, but before the clock could start clicking, Hearts player kept falling on the pitch as if they were not fit or hypnotized, as all clashes between the two sides are characterized by juju or some mystic forces.
On Sunday morning when the rainbow appeared in the skies, Hearts fans believed that it was their day and they trooped to the stadium confidently hoping to carry the three points,
When the match kicked off three white doves were released into the air. Yours Truly saw the doves but did not see which camp they fly from.
Asante Kotoko looked well organized and played forcefully, but Hearts defended well until they lost their dependable defender Inusah Musah due to injury. His replacement Richard Akrofi was resolute and impregnable with good combination and communication with young enterprising Fatawu Mohammed and Joshua Otoo.
Emmanuel Gyamfi was fast and skillful shining for Kotoko, but was stopped by the Phobian’s midfielders Sumudeen and Malik Akowuah who won Man of the Match.
Awal Mohammed and captain Amos Frimpong also had a good game for Kotoko, as tackling experienced Samuel Yeboah, strong Alexandre Koussi and speedster Patrick Razak who came in the second half was huge task.
Kotoko fans who blamed the referee for the penalty should shift blame on striker number 9 Mohmmed Yakubu who missed many glaring chances.
He could have netted at least two goals, but Hearts goalie does not look like being on the losing side. Samuel Akurugu was as agile like an eagle making sure he grabbed very prey in his territory.
After the match, tight police security had to escort referee Suker to the dressing room as Kotoko fans threw water bottles onto the field disgracefully, whilst at another side of the stands, Hearts of Oak Ladies, Chapters and Phobians in the rainbow colours sing and dance to “One Nil .. Onaapo”.
Indeed, it was a very good game, very tactical and technical with Kotoko being a bit creative with Gyamfi on a pitch well cut and for the big game.
Ollenu Ashitey who joined Kotoko from Hearts was a mere passenger in the game that attracted nearly 35,000 fans.
Sadly, at the post match press conference, Kotoko were represented by assistant coach Godwin Ablordey and Agyeman who did not play, this arrangement caused the media to ask whether Kotoko respect the reason for the post match interviews.
Ablordey said they felt cheated by the referee for the penalty and wanted at least a draw, not to allow Hearts to break the jinx. He expressed that there are more games to be played and they still remain on top of the league table with Aduana.
Hearts were represented by coach Nuttal who praised his players and Atinga scoring a good goal. He noted that all Hearts matches are tough and he is looking forward to win again.
Samual Yeboah and Collins Duada who were at the post match interviews promised to continue winning for Hearts to win the league which is their target, after missing it last season.
By Sammy Heywood Okine