By Simon Asare, GNA
Accra, Jan. 26, GNA - Asante Kotoko defeated their arch-rivals Hearts of Oak 2-1 in a match-day six encounter of the Ghana Premier League (GPL) played at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.
A late gasp by Naby Keita from the penalty spot secured all three points for the Porcupine Warriors after Justice Blay scored in the early stages of the first half. Joseph Esso scored the consolation goal for the Phobians.
Hearts started the game in blistering fashion with some relentless attack on the Kotoko defence.
Esso and Nettey came close in opening the scores for the home side but their efforts sealed wide.
The Porcupine Warriors weathered the early storm from the Phobians as Blay headed home from close range to put Kotoko ahead on the 11th minute mark after a superb free kick Okrah Augustine.
Salifu Mudasiru came close in doubling the lead for the away side having dazzled the Hearts defence with sublime left foot but his eventual shot went wide.
Hearts struggled afterwards with Kotoko on the front foot playing some good football. Kofi Kordzi on the half hour mark came close in restoring parity for the Phobians but his header missed the target.
The late stages of the first half saw Kotoko's appeal for a penalty waived away by Referee Emmanuel Eshun after Emmanuel Gyamfi went down in the area.
Hearts on the other hand saw the appeal for penalty annulled by the Referee after Daniel Afriyie went down in Kotoko penalty box as the game went to recess.
The second half started with Hearts on the front foot as they searched for the equalizer with Kotoko on the back foot.
The pressure from the Phobians yield dividend on the 63rd minute mark when Esso headed home from close range after Kotoko failed to clear their lines from a Hearts corner.
The euphoria lightened up the stadium with some end to end action from both sides with the rallying crowd cheering them on.
The tackles went flying left, right, center and Kotoko nearly took the lead through Emmanuel Gyamfi but an outrageous save from Richard Arthur saved the Phobians.
Kotoko were on the ascendancy as they mounted pressure on the Hearts defence but the Phobians stood firm.
Kotoko were handed a glorious opportunity from penalty spot late in added time second half and Naby Keita stepped up and struck Kotoko in-front as they grabbed all three points.
Hearts Starting XI: Attah Richard (GK), Mohammed Abdul Fatawu, Botchway Ansah (Nurudeen Abdul Aziz), Benjamin Afutu,
Esso Joseph (Benard Arthur 73mins), Addo Sowa, Alhassan Mohammed, Kofi Kordzi, Raddy Ovouka, Daniel Afriyie, Emmanuel Nettey
Kotoko Starting XI: Kwame Baah (GK), Salifu Mudasiru (Ameyaw Collins, 28mins), Blay Justice, Yeboah Patrick, Mohammed Habib,
christopher Nettey, Adams Wahab, Okrah Augustine (Mattew Cudjo Anim,67mins) Naby Keita, Emmanuel Gyamfi, Frimpong Kwame Adom (Richard Arthur 73mins).
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