Kotoko, Hearts mark 107th encounter in stalemate

Kumasi Asante Kotoko and their arch rivals Accra Hearts of Oak played out their 107th encounter in a stalemate yesterday at the Accra Sports Stadium.

The duel, which was an outstanding game of matchday 14 between the two glamourous sides in the country, saw both teams miss a penalty in each half.

Kotoko had every opportunity to unsettle Hearts as early as the 4th minute mark, when Kwame Poku was brought down in the 18 yard box.

The decision looked contentious as Benjamin Afutu insisted he was innocent, because he cleared the ball but not the man, when the two went into a challenge.

However, referee Selorm Yao Bless insisted that Kwame Poku was fouled and quickly pointed to the penalty spot.

Striker Kwame Poku, who elected himself to take the kick, got his shot saved by goalkeeper Richard Attah, who pulled out a superb performance to deny Kotoko from going ahead.

Heart quickly launched a dangerous response in the area of the Porcupines, but the woodwork came to their rescue.

The game stabilised as both sides settled down and perhaps played more according to instructions from the bench which brought the beauty of the game out.

Though the game kept swinging from one end of the field to the other, it was Hearts who benefitted from a lot of dangerous incursions that should have seen them take the lead.

Kwadwo Obeng Junior, who led the attack for Hearts, was not clinical upfront in the first 45 minutes, as he kept wasting glorious opportunities that came his way.

While goalkeeper Robert Abalora of Kotoko was busy making some important saves to keep his side in the game, Richard Attah was virtually on holidays in the first half.

The second half saw end-to-end action from both sides, but the Phobians appeared more comfortable and resolute in midfield, where Frederick Ansah Botwey and Benjamin Afutu operated.

The duo tactically appeared more composed and won most of the battle against Latif Anabila and Emmanuel Sarkodie.

Hearts persevered and kept pushing hard for the opener and got their effort rewarded in the 71st minute, when a penalty was awarded to the Phobians.

Hearts’ new found super sub, Isaac Mensah, who came on for Kwadwo Obeng Jnr, boldly went for the ball but his final kick was saved by Robert Abalora.

The meeting between the two celebrated clubs in Ghana yesterday marked a total of 107 encounters between them since 1958.

Both sides have won 35 each of their respective encounters while 36 games between them have ended in stalemate.

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