A GOAL of arrogant quality fetched by returnee Bernard Don Bortey at the Baba Yara Stadiun yesterday brought Accra Hearts of Oak into contention for the ultimate and consigned Asante Kotoko to bottom place in the MTN GHALCA Top 4 tournament.
Hearts grabbed the three points courtesy Bortey’s goal and for the striker, who produced a virtuoso performance on the afternoon, he confirmed his status as one of the Phobians’ all-time best scorers against their archrivals.
And what a way to celebrate the goal as the striker ran to the torch line with a clenched fist and punched the air to receive applause from the Hearts fans.
Asante Kotoko who celebrate their 74th birthday today could hardly penetrate the compact Phobian defence of Bernard Coffie, Tetteh Nortey, Karim Alhassan and Ebenezer Tetteh.
And typical of some of their supporters, they called for the sack of coach Herbert Addo.
Indeed it was amazing how Asante Kotoko, who paraded a frightening set, including some of their big purchases, struggled to match the young Phobian team that showed abundant promise.
After an explosive start to the game, which saw Bortey coming close on the six and eight minutes, Hearts went ahead on 10 minutes from a free kick just outside the edge of the Kotoko area.
In typical fashion, the striker curled the kick over the top of the wall, the ball flying to the top right corner of the net with keeper Isaac Amoako making a fruitless attempt to salvage it.
Kotoko briefly made impressions that they could fight back, cutting down the wings with Abdul Ganiyu and Francis Coffie in attendance, but their supplies to Alex Asamoah and Samad Oppong were cut out by the brilliant Hearts defence.
The home side’s offensive efforts tapered off and Hearts seized the middle with youngsters Ishmael Aryee and Theophilus Apoh creating space for Bortey and Samuel Affum to cause trouble in the Kotoko area.
Samad Oppong, who came up with unnecessary antics occasionally switched to the flanks and in one of such moves he fed Alex Asamoah with a delicate pass on the 24th minute but the striker surprised the crowd of about 25, 000, shooting wide.
The Hearts supporters roared in anticipation of a goal when Bortey went behind another free kick from the same spot where he scored but Isaac Amoako this time dealt with his curling shot.
Hearts’ Aryee was booked in the 37th minute and when Kotoko stormed into the Hearts area on the 44th minute they could only produce a flurry of weak shots which could not cause damage to Hearts.
On restart, it became evident Kotoko lacked the creativity in the middle to drive the team, and keeper Laud Quartey blocked the few shots that went through.
The Bortey pace had a positive impact on Hearts’ game but the support from Affum was not effective.