How the players fared
Posted on: Tue Apr 17, 2012
Asante Kotoko last Sunday exhibited great fighting spirit to beat their bitterest rivals, Accra Hearts of Oak 2-1 at the Baba Yara Stadium. Striker Kofi Nti Boakye nodded home Mike Akuffu’s corner kick in the 36th minute to put Kotoko into the lead and when the game seemed to be over, Mahatma Otoo restored hope for the Phobians when he equalized from a spectacular free kick. Kotoko fought gallantly to secure the match winner in the 94th minute through Mike Akuffu to end their seven years winless run against the Phobians in Kumasi. Kotoko Express Reporter Bernard Nyankomago Yeboah was at the stadium and assessed how the players fared.
Like all the Kotoko players, the Burkinabe import was elated about Kotoko’s victory but he was somehow disappointed for conceding another goal in his encounter against Hearts since joining Kotoko in the 2007/08 football season. Nobody could blame him for that 92nd minute goal he conceded. Rather, the credit must go to Mahatma Otoo for how he expertly took the free kick which swerved the Kotoko human wall comprising seven players and hit the goal post before entering the net. Soulama’s total performance in the game was impressive. On the few occasions that he was severely tested, he lived up to the task. He was seen shouting on his defenders throughout the game to keep them on their toes. 7/10.
He was at his usual overlapping best at the right full back. He was fearless despite his smallish stature and also showed a lot of strength throughout the game. In the 42nd minute, the enterprising defender stole the show when he took the ball from his territory and showed great pace to outwit Isaac Ofori, Laryea Kingston, and Osei Bonsu and delivered a perfect cross which was saved by Philemon McCarthy. Aside that he joined the attack on many occasions but he was able to recover early anytime he lost the ball. He is in no mood to falter as the Glo Premier league enters into the last six matches. 8/10.
Naturally, he is calm person but on the field you can’t bully him. Against Hearts last Sunday the former Dreams FC player was a delight to watch at the left side of the defence. He was the reason why Laryea Kingston could not finish the game as he kept a close eye on him everywhere on the field till Laryea became frustrated and unsportingly stamped on his right foot to receive a red card from Referee Solomon Mordey in the 46th minute. After receiving medical attention for three minutes, he came back strongly and stopped most of the attacks initiated by Mahatma Otoo and James Abban. He proved why Arsenal Manager, Arsenal Wenger has invited him on two-week trials. 8/10.
He was very inspirational as a skipper throughout the game. When most of his colleagues and the supporters became dejected after conceding the 92nd minute goal, Ohene Brenya urged his team mates to keep fighting hard and they eventually secured the match winner. He had effective collaboration with Yaw Frimpong, Baba Rahman and Awal Mohammed at the Kotoko rear guard. He was also always first in the air. In the 87th minute, he saved Kotoko from conceding a goal when he slid and cleared the ball from the foot of Karim Sadat who had only Soulama Abdoulaye to beat. He was indeed a tower in the Kotoko defence and kept his focus throughout the game. 8/10.
He was very strong at the back. His clearance and tackles were timely aside winning most of the 50-50 balls. He marked out Uriah Asante completely from the game and it was no wonder just after 30 minutes Coach C.K Akunnor brought in James Abban for Uriah Asante. Awal nearly crowned his effort with a goal when he fired a terrific shot which missed the post narrowly in the 23rd minute. He received a yellow card in the 91st minute after he challenged Referee Solomon Mordey’s decision to award a free kick against Kotoko just outside the 18 yard box. With little effort he will fulfill his dream to play for the Black Stars in the AFCON 2013. 8/10
He was a hero on the day. His name will forever remain fresh in the minds of many Kotoko supporters for many years because of his splendid display. His perfect corner kick was connected home by Kofi Nti Boakye in the 36th minute. When everybody thought the crucial encounter was going to end 1-1 following Mahatma’s late equalizer, Akuffu restored smiles on the faces of the numerous Kotoko supporters at the stadium by scoring from a long drive which beat Sammy Adjei in the post. Kotoko supporters carried him shoulders high round the field after the game to show appreciation for his effort. 9/10.
Daniel Nii Adjei
He was a workaholic in the midfield. He was everywhere on the field. When the game started, Nii Adjei was seen operating from the midfield as usual. At a point he was shifted to the left flank. Getting to the latter part of the game, Nii changed position with Michael Anaba and operated from the right wing. He tried many long range shots but couldn’t hit the back of the net. In the 81st minute, he fired a thunderbolt but goalkeeper Philemon McCarthy stretched to his limit and pushed the ball to corner kick. McCarthy broke one of his fingers after making that save and subsequently gave way to veteran goalie Sammy Adjei who also made many dangerous saves for Hearts. 9/10.
After helping Kotoko to beat Hearts 3-1 in his first encounter against the Phobians on October 1, 2011 at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in the Super Two, the offensive midfielder promised another good show and he lived up to his promise. His ball control, touches and passes were accurate. The Hearts defenders comprising Samuel Nzemoba, Ernest Ackon, Owusu Sefa and Kofi Agyare could hardly take the ball from him except they brought him down. He almost registered his name on the score sheet but his header in the 16th minute was superbly saved by goalie Philemon McCarthy. 8/10
He came to replace Michael Anaba in the 78th minute. The Burkinabe international fared well in his debut against Hearts. He was strong and stopped most of the attacks initiated by Hearts. 5/10
The midfielder has never looked backed since Kotoko’s 2-0 triumph over Ebusua Dwarfs in Obuasi where he came in as a substitute. Playing for 77 minutes against Hearts, the former RTU player had good collaboration with Akuffu, Anaba and Nii Adjei in the midfield. Whenever he loses a ball, he would fight till he wins it back. He delivered some perfect crosses especially in the second half and also tried to score himself on some few occasions but his shots went off target. 7/10
Prince Baffoe replaced Richard Yeboah with 13 minutes to end the game and he performed well in his debut against the Phobians. He brought vitality into the game. He gave a tailor measured pass to Ben Acheampong in the 86th minute but Acheampong failed to connect it. 5/10
Kofi Nti Boakye
The hardworking striker was a thorn in the flesh of the Hearts defenders. Despite his diminutive stature, he was able to out- jump the tall Hearts defenders and nodded home Kotoko’s first goal in the 36th minute. Aside his classic goal, he made many incursions. He created a good chance for Anaba in the 12th minute but McCarthy denied Anaba the chance to score when used his right foot to clear the ball to throw. He did not show any sign of tiredness in the 90 minutes. 8/10
He was policed by two defenders, Owusu Sefa and Kofi Agyare throughout the game but he still gave Hearts a hell of time. Using his strength and pace to his advantage, Ben Acheampong tried many shots from afar but most of them were blocked. In some occasions, he dropped deep to get the ball to initiate attack. When pressure was coming to Kotoko after recess, he came back to help Awal and co. The strength and confidence he exuded in the game won the hearts of many Kotoko supporters. 8/10.
He came in after Kotoko match winner in the 94th minute to replace Ben Acheampong. Much was not seen from him because of time.
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