Striker Alex Asamoah emerged from the substitutes bench to score a great goal that propelled Kumasi Asante Kotoko to a lone-goal victory over Wa All Stars in their Glo League match at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
The victory raised Kotoko's chance of successfully defending the league championship as leaders Hearts of Oak faltered yet again in Accra and saw their lead whittle down after drawing at home.
However, it was a difficult match for the rejuvenated Porcupine Warriors and they had to dig deep into their experience to overcome a difficult All Stars side who gave a good account of themselves.
The visitors played very well, raiding the Kotoko goalmouth on many occasions, but lacked the finishing power to punish Kotoko who were given a real scare.
Both teams began the game on a fierce note, but after the early exchanges, it was Kotoko who came closest to scoring when enterprising Daniel Nii Adjei missed the target narrowly on the ninth minute.
Peter Robert Dabuo was brilliant in post for All Stars as he made point-blank saves to deny Francis Coffie and Kwadwo Poku some really good chances in what was a balanced first half.
Kotoko stepped up the game later in the second half when Asamoah replaced Stephen Manu on the 51st minute. Asamoah profited from a miskick by an opponent around the centre circle on the 63rd minute and raced brilliantly with the ball into the All Stars goalmouth and displaced goalkeeper Dabuo on the run for the match winner.