Hearts of Oak defeated Asante Kotoko 1-0 at the Accra Sports Stadium to win the 2023 President’s Cup and three points in what was also a 2022/23Ghana Premier League (GPL) match-day 20 fixture.
The game on Sunday was witnessed by H.E President Nana Akufo-Addo as Guest of Honour and H.E Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo, President of Guinea-Bissau and Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.
It was a frenetic start with both sides showing their intentions quite early. The hosts almost scored five minutes into the game through Benjamin Yorke. The forward managed to strike past the onrushing Kotoko goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim but his effort was denied the opener by a timely clearance by defender Sheriff Mohammed.
The pendulum swung almost immediately as Kotoko came close to scoring at the other end with Steven Mukwala brilliantly leaving three defenders behind him before narrowly missing the target from inside the box.
Inside 8 minutes, Danlad brilliantly produced back-to-back saves to deny Hearts who had striker Kwadwo Obeng Jnr coming close in the 17th but hesitation saw him waste the opportunity.
At the midway point of the first half, the tempo of the match slowed down. However, there was a scuffle after Hearts goalkeeper Richmond Ayi dashed from his post to tangle with Mukwala near the halfwayKotoko attempted to break on a dangerous counterattack through the Ugandan import.
When play resumed, Kotoko resorted to making attempts from distance through Augustineforced a save from Ayi in the 34th Richmond Lamptey’s two strikes from favourable positions slipped over the bar six minutes later.
Hearts had the last chance of the half with Linda Mtange putting Danlad to work.
The only goal of the game eventuallyin the 57th minute when a free-kick by Mtange was perfectly met by a header from centre-back Konadu Yiadom.
— StarTimes Ghana (@startimesghana) March 5, 2023
From that point forward, Kotoko dominated possession but the Phobians were the ones who found openings on the break.
Mukwala came close to scoring in the 71st minute after a through pass from midfielder Mo. Sheriff but Caleb Amankwah blocked his effort.
Five minutesan Agyapong free-kick was met by Sherif Mohammed but the header cannoned off the crossbar and back for the Phobians to clear the ball away.
The Porcupine Warriors were desperate to findequaliser in the final minutes and had a penalty appeal turned down inside injury time. Referee Jacob Aduntera did not see any infringement when Mukwala was tackled in the box after dragging in from the corner line.
Victory sees Hearts of Oak not only annex the President’s Cup for the 6th time but also move to the same points, 31, with Asante Kotoko and places them above their arch-rivals into 4th in the standings on a head-to-head advantage. The two sides drew 1-1 when they first met in Kumasi on match-day 3.
Hearts of Oak’s Linda Mtange received the man-of-the-match award.