Accra Hearts of Oak saw their dream of reclaiming their throne as Presidential cup champions dashed away like John Snow’s dream of sitting on the Iron throne as king. Hearts of Oak lost to a well disciplined Kumasi Asante Kotoko side by 2-1 in a game where they were second best for most of the 90 minutes.
The game started at a low and slow pace with both sides playing cautiously. The game came to life when Richard Attah in post for Hearts made a good save from an Augustine Okrah effort, the rebound was sent wide by Mudasiru Salifu.
Emmanuel Gyamfi struck the upright after shrugging off a fierce challenge from Robert Sowah. Mudasiru Salifu again latched on to the rebound but hits it over the bar.
Accra Hearts of Oak were awarded a penalty in the 34th minute when Empem Dacosta handled the ball in a tackle on Kofi Kordzi. Kofi Kordzi calmly slotted the penalty kick home. Kwame Baah in post for Kotoko got a hand to it but it wasn’t enough to prevent his side from going one down to Hearts of Oak.
Kotoko leveled matters with just a minute to go in the three minutes of added time in the first half. Mohammed Alhassan turned the ball into his own net after he failed to clear a cross from Patrick Yeboah. The game ended 1-1 in the first half.
The Hearts of Oak manager wasn’t scared to make a move as he subbed Charles MaCarthy, Emmanuel Mintah and Obeng Junior and brought on Aminu Alhassan, Mitchelle Sarpong and Manaf Umar.
Ten minutes after the break, Kofi Kordzi missed an empty goal. He went past the Kwame Baah but couldn’t find his scoring boots as he missed from open goal.
Asante Kotoko made their first sub when Collins Ameyaw made way for Naby Keita in the 56th minute. It took Naby Keita just 8 minutes on the field to give Kotoko the lead for the first time in the game when he headed home a cross from the left by Patrick Yeboah beyond the helpless Richard Arthur.
Naby Keita nearly made it 3 for Kotoko on the day and 2 for himself in the 79th minute when he saw his header strike the upright after a good work down the right wing.
Kumasi Asante Kotoko’s wonderlid Matthew ‘Messi’ Cudjoe was brought on in the 83th minute to place Okrah.
Robert Addo nearly brought Hearts of Oak level in the 89th minute when his header from a corner went wide. He was later shown the second yellow and a red for persistent fouling on wonder kid Matthew Cudjoe.
The referee added 3 minutes of additional time, but none of the two sides could make use of it as the game ended 2-1 in favor of Asanti Kotoko.
Kotoko retain the President Cup for the 3rd in a row, which is their 6th since the inception of the trophy.
Accra Hearts of Oak will need to make sure they right today’s wrongs when they kickoff their season at home to Berekum Chelsea next week. Kotoko will hope to carry this form into next week when they face Eleven wonders in Kumasi.