THERE are contrasting fortunes for Ghana’s two most dominant powers. While Kumasi Asante Kotoko find contentment, discontent reigns in Accra Hearts of Oak.
Beating B.A Stars 3-1 in Kumasi, the second victory in the second round, Asante Kotoko appear to be heading for winning ways.
But tumbling 1-0 to AshGold at Obuasi, Hearts’ second defeat in the three-week old second round, and their ninth in the season, the one-time fearsome side are no doubt in tatters.
The loss to AshGold has placed the club in the relation zone. Disillusioned supporters of the Phobians who witnessed the team’s ignominious defeat to AshGold could not but call for a major shake-up in the team right from the board to the playing body.
For Asante Kotoko, last Wednesday’s victory was a testimony to the strategic mid-season recruitment made by management and hailed Executive Chairman, Dr K.K. Sarpong, for working to inject some life into the team.
The Porcupine Warriors would however, admit the team did not play to expectation and on several occasions in the second half the ten-man B.A Stars team overcrowded them.
The good number of home fans at the Baba Yara Stadium watched unbelievably as B.A Stars arrowhead, Prince Atakora Gyimah, caught Kotoko with a rasping shot after just two minutes.
Kotoko took the fight to their opponents and the reaction was quick. Samad Oppong ripped the B.A. Stars defence and fired into the near post on the fourth minute.
That never broke down the visitors who paraded former Kotoko forward, Michael Osei, and 2007 best local footballer, Kweku Essien.
On the 17th minute, Mawuli Tuglo rocked the Kotoko post with a great effort as they kept the Kotoko area busy.
While the two sides probed for the leader, referee Vincent Otoo came up with a controversial decision when he awarded a penalty to Kotoko on the 33rd minute, which Michael Akuffo converted, after he judged defender Emmanuel Okine to have fouled Nathaniel Asamoah in the area.
The referee surprisingly went ahead to send off the B.A. Stars defender who had remained the hard-tackling fulcrum at the back.
Nathaniel Asamoah who wasted glorious opportunities on the night shot wide after coming face-to-face with the B.A. Stars keeper.
Kotoko’s workmanlike performance in defence was typified by Awal Mohammed who fetched the third goal in the 49th minute, heading home from a corner kick.