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REGULAR RIVALS: The 6 times Hearts and Kotoko met in 2017

There were six meetings between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko this year, 2017.

No big rivals meet as many times in a year as Ghana’s finest clubs did in 2017 and here looks back at the 6 encounters between the Phobians and the Porcupine Warriors this calendar year.

Sunday 19 March 2017 – Hearts of Oak 1-0 Asante Kotoko

The Ghana Premier League Week 8 affair at the Accra Sports Stadium was decided by an 84th minute Vincent Atingah penalty in a controversial game. Referee Samuel Sukah adjudged defender Ahmed Adams handled the  ball from a Samuel Yeboah strike and awarded The Phobians a penalty. Atinagh stepped forward to take it and made no mistake. This decision generated somewhat a nationwide debate as one side, majority of who were Phobians, saw the penalty as a legitimate one whilst other group dominated by Kotoko fans felt their team was hard done by.

The Match Reveiw Panel of the Ghana FA, however in the end, exonerated Samuel Sukah by deciding that his penalty decision was a good call. This defeat would have a ripple effect on Kotoko who went into this big game unbeaten in their previous 7 matches at the start of the season. Kotoko returned to Kumasi only to drop points against Inter Allies on Week 9, beaten away by Medeama on Week 10, drew at home to Ebusua Dwarfs on Week 11 and that was the end of Zdravko Logarusic’s tenure.

Monday 1 May – Hearts of Oak 3-1 Asante Kotoko

Hearts of Oak made it 2 wins in 2 over their rivals. Head coach Frank Nuttall was not present but assistant coach Henry Wellington did the job to satisfaction. This was the first leg of the ‘Ghana 60 Years On’ anniversary game and goals from Kwame Kizito, Thomas Abbey and Patrick Razak were enough for the Phobians to inflict defeat number 2 on their sworn rivals. Kizito came off the bench to make the most out of a goalkeeping blunder by Felix Annan to score the first goal of the game. Awal Mohammed fetched the equalizer for Frimpong Manso’s side but Hearts of Oak, thanks to the dominating presence of midfield sensation Winful Cobbinah that day, overpowered the Fabulous boys scoring two more goals in the last ten minutes of the game through Abbey and Razak.

Monday 2 July  – Asante Kotoko 0-0 (4-1 pen) Hearts of Oak

The tide began to turn as Kotoko lifted the Ghalca President’s Cup. This game, rained-off the previous day when the scoreline was 1-1 ended goalless the next day and Kotoko won 4-1 in the penalty shootout with Sadick Adams scoring the winning kick with a deft Panenka against goalkeeper Benjamin Mensah. Kotoko fans laughed for the first time.

Sunday 6 August – Asante Kotoko 1-1 Hearts of Oak

Hearts players protest referee Dally Gagba’s decision

This Ghana Premier League Week 23 fixture scheduled for 16 July had to be postponed due to the 12 July Kotoko road accident at Nkawkaw. When it was finally played on August 6, it failed to produce a winner. Kwame Kizito’s striker was canceled by a Sadick Adams penalty.

Sunday 29 October – Hearts of Oak 1-3 Asante Kotoko

FA Cup final. Sadick Adams first half hat trick condemned the Phobians and suppressed the Never Say Die spirit. The league season had ended with Hearts finishing third and Kotoko, fifth. This was a single game that presented the highest stakes. A major silverware and a ticket to Africa and it was the Porcupine Warriors who reigned supreme in this mammoth battle. Thomas Abbey threatened a comeback but Adams had already done an irredeemable harm.

Sunday 24 December – Asante Kotoko 0-0 Hearts of Oak

The second leg of the ‘Ghana 60 Years On’ anniversary game took place at the Baba Yara Stadium and this time, it was more of a pre-season friendly. Guest and unregistered players were allowed to be used by any side that wished to do so. Kotoko coach Steven Polack named new signing Sylla Vie Mohammed in the starting line-up and provided spaces for Jordan Opoku, Kojo Dei on the bench as Hearts boss Frank Nuttall handed former Dwarfs full-back Christopher Bonney a start.

In the 6 meetings, 11 goals were scored. Hearts of Oak with a return of 6 goals scored one more goal than their rivals. Sadick Adams was the top goalscorer with 4 goals in 4 games played. Thomas Abbey and Kwame Kizito were owners of 2 goals each.

Meanwhile, Kotoko clinched two of the three trophies that were at stake – the FA Cup and President’s Cup – whilst Hearts of Oak settled for the Ghana @60 trophy.





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