It is finished! –Konadu declares after exciting win over Hearts
Posted on: Tue Apr 17, 2012
After leading Asante Kotoko to beat arch rivals Hearts of Oak 2-1 in Sunday’s action-packed and gripping 24th week, Glo Premier League clash at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Coach Maxwell Konadu has declared that it would be difficult if not impossible for any side to overtake the Porcupine Warriors on the Glo Premier League table.
Maxwell Konadu, who was totally overjoyed when midfielder Michael Akuffu’s screaming 20-metre salvo beat goalkeeper, Sammy Adjei to seal the historic 2-1 triumph, told Kotoko Express that the sweet victory over Accra Hearts of Oak have virtually delivered Kotoko’s 22nd league title, adding that nothing would stand in his team’s journey to the expectant league honour.
“With this win, it is finished. It is almost done. It is going to be difficult for any club in the competition to overtake Kotoko on the table and deny us to the title” said Coach Konadu.
Striker Kofi Nti Boakye opened the scoring for Kotoko in the 36th minute when he outsmarted his markers in the penalty box to powerfully head home Kotoko’s sixth corner kick, expertly taken by the free kick expert, Michael Akuffu.
The Phobians who had their star player, Laryea Kingston sent off, a minute into the second half, for dangerously stamping on Baba Abdul Rahman, cancelled the deficit and what a time they did it! It was in the 92nd minute through substitute striker, Mahatma Otoo who fired a tenacious shot from a free kick just outside the 18-yard box to beat goalkeeper, Soulama Abdoulaye.
The experienced Kotoko goalie had absolutely no answer to Mahatma’s mighty strike, first because of the brutal power behind the ball and secondly because the ball bounced off the right post before entering the net. When the die seemed cast with jubilant Hearts fans still celebrating their sweet equalizer and Kotoko supporters wondering how the Porcupines surrendered their lead, Michael Akuffu put the icing on the cake in the 94th minute.
The high performing midfielder sent a ferocious 20-metre thunderbolt of a shot which beautifully beat substitute goalkeeper, Sammy Adjei to restore absolute ecstasy in the fully packed stadium. With the thousands of euphoric Kotoko fans singing and dancing, the equally thrilled Kotoko bench burst onto the field immediately Referee Solomon Mordey ended proceedings. Following is a minute by minute account of the game.
1st minute: Kotoko win first infringement. Michael Anaba takes the free kick quickly but referee orders him to retake it. Awal Mohammed takes the kick instead. Hearts’ defence clears the danger. Kotoko win first corner kick of the afternoon but it causes no danger for the Phobians.
3rd minute: Beautiful organisation and excellent ball distribution by Kotoko from defence to midfield attract loud applause from the cheering crowd. Yaw Frimpong dummies his marker in front of the box. He shoots well on goal but the ball flies over the post.
4th minute: Hearts win possession and launch attack. It is Laryea Kingston in the lead. He finds Karim Sadat close to the goal area but Awal Mohammed comes in quickly to clear the danger.
7th minute: Nii Adjei takes off. He tries to outwit Laryea Kingston but Laryea fouls him midway inside Hearts’ territory. The resultant free kick by Michael Akuffu is wasted.
8th minute Nii Adjei again confronts Laryea Kingston and beats him this time and attempts to locate Kofi Nti Boakye close to the goal area but the Kotoko attacker arrives late.
10th minute: Tension in the game rises. Hearts’ Samuel Enzemoba is left off the hook by the referee as he badly fouls midfielder Michael Anaba. An infringement is awarded all right but it is wasted.
12th minute: A two-minute hold-up begins. Goalie Philemon McCarthy goes down after a seemingly innocuous challenge on him by Ben Acheampong for a high ball floated into the box. The referee restarts the game. He however books McCarthy for needless time wasting. Hearts fans are angered by the referee’s decision.
16th minute: Isaac Ofori takes off on the edge of the 18-yard box. It is a dangerous move. Goalkeeper Soulama Abdoulaye surges out; but he is indecisive. He returns to the post. Isaac Ofori shoots dangerously on target but the shot goes wayward. Kotoko return the heat on Hearts of Oak to win their third corner kick a minute later which goes waste again.
19th minute: Ernest Ackon breaks into attack. Kotoko recoil fast into defence. Hearts’ threat on goal is alive. Ackon finds Attakora Gyimah in the box. Gyimah attempts to back heel the ball to an opponent but Baba Abdul Rahman arrives in good time to clears the danger.
22nd minute: Kotoko switch into attack. Michael Anaba and Nii Adjei connect well to locate
Richard Yeboah but Owusu Sefa intervenes to send the ball out for a corner, the third to Kotoko .
24th minute: Hearts are under so much pressure. Yaw Frimpong runs well on the right to find Nii Adjei. He turns to the left but he is immediately fouled by Samuel Enzemoba who is booked by the referee.
25th minute: Nii Adjei passes the ball from the free kick spot to Michael Akuffu who fires a good salvo pushed to corner by goalie Philemon McCarthy.
28th minute: Michael Anaba connects Kofi Nti Boakye in the box. Nti Boakye is blocked and he falls in the process but no infringement is awarded as Kotoko supporters call for a penalty.
30th minute: Hearts win possession with Uriah Asante in the lead but he surprisingly loses the ball incurring the wrath of Coach C. K. Akunnor who angrily signals James Abban on the bench to start warming-up. James Abban replaces Uriah Asante three minutes later.
36th minute: GOAL! Kofi Nti Boakye puts Kotoko 1-0 up after a corner kick, perfectly taken by Michael Akuffu which the striker headed excellently into the blind side of a stranded Hearts goalie. It was Kotoko’s sixth corner kick. There is spontaneous jubilation in the stands as the Porcupines celebrate the sweet opener!
40th minute: Hearts come under more pressure. They soak the intense pressure. They are unable to penetrate Kotoko deeply when they surge forward momentarily. Acheampong is put through by Nii Adjei but he is stopped nicely by Samuel Enzemoba.
42nd minute: under pressure Hearts of Oak win their first corner kick. It appears they can get something out of it. Their fans are cheering for the equalizer but the kick goes wayward. The game cruises to an end three minutes later with Kotoko in the lead by a lone goal.
46th minute: The pressure on Hearts of Oak continues unabated. A minute after the interval, Laryea Kingston is shown the red card following a dangerous stamping of defender Baba Abdul Rahman in a challenge for the ball on the left of attack. Moments later, striker Ben Acheampong also goes into the referee’s book.
49th minute: Hearts’ Isaac Ofori initiates a move into attack. He is however fouled close to the goal area. Owusu Sefa picks the ball as Kotoko form the defensive wall. The Hearts player shoots but his strike flies off target and aimlessly too as Soulama Abdoulaye attempts to dive.
55th minute: Kotoko are in full control of the game but Hearts even with a man out still look strong. Coach C. K. Akunnor conducts his second substitution by replacing Attakora Gyimah with Mahatma Otoo who joins the attack three minutes later to locate Kofi Agyare with a good cross which Agyare heads well over the bar.
57th minute: Owusu Sefa benefits from a swift move. He fires a fine shot on goal but it is not so perfect to find the target.
59th minute: Owusu Sefa wins a free kick. He floats it well inside Kotoko’s goal area but again Kofi Agyare fails to come in with a good header.
61st minute: Michael Akuffu surges forward. He finds Nii Adjei with a long, accurate pass. Nii Adjei dashes into the box but just before he strikes goalkeeper Philemon McCarthy surges out of his post to save the ball. Close shave
63rd minute: Nii Adjei, Kofi Nti Boakye and Ben Acheampong take off well as they initiate a dangerous attack. Nii Adjei eventually benefits from the brilliant partnership. He fires a mighty shot from the edge of the box which Philemon McCarthy pushes to safety but the goalie sustains injury of suspected broken finger and as result calls for medical attention.
67th minute: Goalkeeper Philemon McCarthy cannot continue the game. Sammy Adjei who has just started warming-up is called in quickly as a tearful Philemon McCarthy is assisted by the Hearts medical team to leave the pitch.
70th minute: Speeding James Abban beats Yaw Frimpong on the right. He attempts to send a cross but Awal Mohammed arrives in good time to dispossess him before he wrecks havoc.
72nd minute: An ambitious attempt by Ben Acheampong to double Kotoko’s lead goes wayward as his picturesque bicycle kick flies way above the crossbar. Michael Akuffu picks the yellow card moments later for a foul on an opponent.
74th minute: Kotoko sustain pressure on Hearts. Michael Anaba finds Nii Adjei upfront. Nii Adjei delivers one of his trade mark might salvoes which substitute goalkeeper Sammy Adjei displays excellent anticipation to push it with his left hand to corner.
76th minute: Kotoko are working hard to double their lead but Hearts are as well defending well. Ben Acheampong takes off brilliantly following Michael Anaba’s big clearance from the rear. Ben Acheampong is stopped by Ernest Ackon midway in Hearts’ terrain. Ackon picks up the yellow card for his bad challenge on the Kotoko striker.
77th minute: Coach Maxwell Konadu conducts his first substitution. He pulls out Richard Yeboah for Prince Baffoe.
80th minute: With the intent of solidifying the midfield, the Kotoko coach replaces Michael Anaba with Sacko Iddrisa.
81st minute: Kotoko are still searching for another goal but the search is proving elusive. Nii Adjei in front of goal area sends another terrific shot. Kotoko fans are not enthused but much to the joy of the visibly worried Hearts fans Sammy Adjei dives spectacularly to send the ball out.
84th minute: Hearts pile pressure on Kotoko. They move forward in droves. Mahatma Otoo benefits from the move. From the right of attack, he fires a good shot which hits the side net but first bounced off the foot of a Kotoko defender. Hearts win two successive corner kicks in four minutes but they are all wasted.
90th minute: With the game cruising to an end, five minutes is added on. Awal Mohammed fouls an opponent in front of the goal area. Hearts’ medical team attends to their player. Awal Mohammed is shown the yellow card for dissent
92nd minute: GOAL! Hearts fetch the equalizer through Mahatma Otoo who fires a tenacious shot from a free kick just outside the 18-yard box to beat goalkeeper, Soulama Abdoulaye. With the powerful force behind it, the ball swerves Kotoko’s human wall to beat Soulama Abdoulaye after bouncing off the right post before entering the net. Hearts fans burst into rapturous celebration singing and dancing.
94th minute: GOAL! Michael Akuffu puts the icing on the cake by grabbing the vital match winner as he benefits from a move upfront. Like Nii Adjei, Akuffu fires one of his excellent long shots outside the box. The ball zooms straight into the net, throwing the passionate Kotoko fans into sheer joy. The euphoric fans sing loudly as the game finally ends.
Kotoko : Soulama Abdoulaye, Yaw Frimpong, Baba Abdul Rahman, Ohene Brenya, Awal Mohammed, Michael Akuffu, Michael Anaba/Sacko Iddrisa, Nii Adjei Daniel, Ben Acheampong, Richard Yeboah/Prince Baffoe.
Hearts Philemon McCarthy/Sammy Adjei, Samuel Enzemoba, Ernest Ackon, Owusu Sefa, Kofi Agyare, Osei Bonsu, Isaac Ofori/Mahatma Otoo, Laryea Kingston, Karim Sadat, Uriah Asante/Uriah Asante, Attakorah Gyimah.
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