A PHENOMENAL display by Accra Hearts of Oak saw them overpowering archrivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, 1-0 in their Glo Premier League top-liner at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi yesterday.
Offensive midfielder, Douglas Nkrumah, sent the Hearts supporters to the raptures with the only goal from a spot-kick on the 65th minute.
The Phobians played at a frenetic pace, controlling every bit of the match and could have run home with a bigger scoreline had they remained focused in front of goal.
Kotoko could not ignite the spark and they got lost tactically, and the more aggressive and tactically disciplined Hearts treated the near-capacity crowd to some copybook football.
And finally when controversial referee, Cecil Fletcher, ended the game, the “auros, auros” chorus of the visitors vibrated through the stadium.
Hearts made their intentions clear from the start when Douglas Nkrumah rounded Aziz Ansah but failed to go past keeper Isaac Amoako. Ansah, who was making a return debut for Kotoko after a stint in Nigeria, was a bundle of nerves and could hardly recover from his runs, gave Hearts a field day on the left side of attack.
Sammy Adjei, very composed on the afternoon, was superb in post, turning away two dangerous shots from Alex Asamoah and Samad Oppong on the 11th and 16th minutes respectively.
As the game wore on, it appeared Kotoko were lost in the middle where Albert Bruce was a total flop.
After Douglas Nkrumah failed to take advantage of a bright opportunity on the 20th minute, petit midfielder, Obed Ansah, prised open the Kotoko defence, heading past Isaac Amoako, but it was ruled offside.
The chances fell to Hearts who were in total command, but again when Nkrumah’s low drive kissed the post on the 24th minute, Obed Ansah only headed away in front of an empty net.
Alex Asamoah was taken out of the game in the first half following an injury and his exit proved a big blow for Kotoko since Louis Agyeman and Samad Oppong faded out as the Hearts back four of Bobie Ansah, Nzemaba, Boampong and Osei Bonsu cleared their lines with ease.
After recess, Kotoko attempted to gather some spirit but had no attacking fuzz as the strikers faded out. It was a matter of course that Hearts found the leader. Wilson Andoh raced onto a pass and sped in from the left.
As he set off with searing pace, he shot into the area and the ball hit the hand of Ofosu Appiah in the area. Nkrumah made no mistake about it to set Kotoko crumbling for the second time in eight days.