Asante Kotoko made a huge statement ahead of the start of 2019-20 Ghana Premier League season when they pupped sworn rivals Hearts of Oak 2-1 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.
Hearts opened the scoring by the 37th minute when Empem Dacosta handled a cross in Kotoko’s box and striker Kofi Kordzi stepped up to slot the resulting kick into the net.
On 45th minute, Hearts defender Mohammed Alhassan turned the ball into his own net to equal the scoreline following a cross from Kotoko’s Patrick Yeboah.
After the break, Hearts boss Kim Grant made three substitutions with Charles MaCarthy, Emmanuel Mintah and Obeng Junior coming on for Aminu Alhassan, Mitchelle Sarpong and Manaf Umar as he reverted to 4-3-3 formation.
The change nearly paid off by the 55th minute, as Kordzi was presented with an opportunity but missed the target after going past three Kotoko defenders and goalkeeper Kwame Baah.
However, Kotoko took the lead ten minutes later for the first time in the game after Naby Keita connected a cross from Patrick Yeboah to break the hearts of the travelling supporters.
Although, Hearts pressed the hosts for the equaliser, Kotoko’s defence were resolute and held on to claim a big win to end the year with a silverware. The win, without doubts, will spur them on for the new Ghana Premier League season which kicks off next weekend.
For records, Kordzi’s goal for the Phobians eventually made him the first player to score in regulation time in a President Cup game between Kotoko and Hearts since 2005.
Interestingly, George Yamoah was the last player to achieve that feat 14 years ago.