Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
KUMASI Asante Kotoko staged an astonishing recovery to overcome Ashanti Gold 2-1 in the H.P. Nyemitei Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) Cup match. It was Kotoko’s 11th win of the Cup.
The victory, on a sunny afternoon at the Baba Yara Stadium yesterday, was a revenge of a sort for Kotoko who had previously been beaten on three occasions by their opponents for the prestigious SWAG Cup.
Typical of any Ashgold– Kotoko match, tension prevailed throughout the game, while the combatants produced some fine football to whet the appetite of the fans.
The opening minutes were terrifying with both sides charging forward to hit the ball towards goal.
Ashgold made the first serious attempt at goal in the fourth minute when defender Gariba Umar’s tricky shot came close to finding the net. Gariba was to be booked two minutes later for a dangerous tackle.
While Ashgold took charge of the attacking wings with Alex Asamoah and Owusu Ansah displaying magnificent footwork, Kotoko showed industry in the middle of the game as Jordan Opoku and Daniel Nii Adjei fed the attack with some nice balls.
The industrious Samuel Inkoom came up with his typical runs from the right side of defence and in the 13th minute, he crossed beautifully for Emmanuel Osei Kuffour but the captain’s connection from close range went off target.
When the central department of the Kotoko defence started flirting with trouble, Ashgold capitalised on it to fetch the opener.
Strong running forward Alex Asamoah wrestled free from new signing defender Julius Adjabeng and with the defence opened he made light work of Richard Manu before sweeping the ball past advancing Soulama Abdulai in post. It was a typical striker’s goal.
Adjabeng, who struggled to find his feet in the game, was pulled out for Prince Anokye five minutes later as Kotoko struck a strategy to cut out Ashgold from the flanks.
The outstanding Harrison Afful played masterfully and pushed up his attack, which saw Kojo Poku replacing the clumsy Kwabena Yaro in the 37th minute, from the left side of defence.
Kotoko levelled up on the stroke of half time after referee William Agbovi judged Osei Kuffour to have been fouled in the box.
After a brief protest from Ashgold, which saw Mr Kofi Manu, alias Blue Boy, the special assistant to the CEO of the club, leading the protest, Francis Coffie stepped up to beat Fatau Dauda in post.
Kotoko played the aggressors on restart, spraying passes accross the field and firing shots at goal, but Fatau proved unyielding in post.
Twice in the 46th and 54th minutes, Kojo Poku and Coffie found themselves in scoring range but messed up the opportunities.
In the 66th minute, Agbovi received boos from the crowd when he ignored a penalty appeal from Kotoko after Kojo Poku appeared to have been fouled in the box.
The winning goal arrived after 83 minutes. Once again it was Coffie who fired the ball in after Osei Kuffuor had created the chance for him in the box. Coffie could have hit a hat-trick but failed to make good use of the chance three minutes into injury time.