Real Tamale United (RTU) gave their 2021/22 Ghana Premier League (GPL) survival chances a boost by defeating leaders Asante Kotoko 2-1 on Sunday.
The match-day 25 fixture marked the return of the Northern Blues to the Aliu Mahama Stadium after serving a ban over crowd trouble weeks ago.
The game was balanced in the early exchanges with both sides threatening a few times. And in one of the forays by the hosts, Kotoko left-back Patrick Asmah carelessly caused his side a penalty by nudging Stephen Badu Dankwa off the ball.
Augustine Roland Frimpong stepped up and made it 1-0 with a well-composed spot-kick in the 26th minute.
Kotoko made efforts to peg back and came very close through Sheriff Mohammed and Samuel Boateng as well as Patrick Asmah who had two free-kicks coming off the post before the halftime break.
Fit-again RTU captain David Abagna came off the bench in the 64th minute to mark his return to action after a toe injury on national duty with the Black Stars at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in January kept him on the sidelines.
Abagna’s introduction saw RTU gain further momentum as they aimed to put the game beyond doubt.
On 79 minutes, an inswinger from the right had Danlad Ibrahim committing himself and getting punished. The Kotoko goalkeeper stepped off his line in an attempt to go and claim the ball but he got his calculation totally wrong as on-loan Hearts of Oak striker Victor Aidoo managed to head into an empty net.
Five minutes from time, Franck Thierry Etouga Mbella won a penalty and converted it to make it 2-1 but it was too late for a comeback. The Cameroonian’s latest goal takes his tally to 17 and he now matches former Kotoko striker Eric Bekoe’s 2007/08 GPL top-scoring record.
Despite the 2-1 defeat in Tamale – a third in 25 league matches, Asante Kotoko (52) continue to hold an 8-point lead over second-placed Bechem United (44) who surprisingly let slip a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 away to Eleven Wonders in Techiman. RTU sit in 15th position – just above the relegation zone with a better goal difference than Wonders with whom they tie on 28 points.
📸🗣| THE STANDINGS after 2021/22 #GPLwk25👇:
• 3rd-placed @Aduana_FC gained a point.
• Drop zone: Still Wonders, WAFA, Sharks
— Footy-Ghana.com 🇬🇭 (@FootyGhana) April 17, 2022