Kumasi Asante Kotoko once again fell to the bragging web of Accra Hearts of Oak, as they were silenced together with their teeming fans at the Baba Yara Stadium to a masterclass display of tactical football to pick all the three maximum points.
Patrick Razak’s powerful run and sweet dummy which resulted in the only goal of the game on the 64th minute was enough to hand the Phobians a crucial win which has seen them level on points with 14 apiece.
Here is what we learned from the epic clash.
Yacouba Songne, one for the future for the porcupines
Asante Kotoko’s forward Yacouba Sogne, 25, who hails from Burkina Faso, was thrown into action in his first league match and his first super clash game, and could not come at any better time to show the kind of ball playing striker he is. Yacouba was a threat to the Hearts defence when in possession.
If not for goalkeeper Ben Mensah, his neatly taken two free kicks at each half could have shot Kotoko in the lead. His positioning off the ball and aerial challenges were a headache for Hearts defenders Inusah Musah and Benjamin Agyare. This is exactly what Saddick Adams did for the Porcupines last season, facing defenders with no fear, but has sadly been bed-ridden due to recurring injuries.
If only the supporters will allow the former Stade de Malien to grow in confidence, Kotoko will reap in ten folds as the season wears on. This comes as no surprise for head coach Paa Kwesi Fabin who allowed him to play the entire duration of the game on his debut.
The Baba Yara Stadium has been a fortified and protected place for Hearts of Oak for over a decade now in terms of league games. If there is any game in the premier league the Phobians are overly sure of picking all three points, look no further than their game against eternal rivals Asante Kotoko especially in Kumasi.
Hearts have lost only one in 12 years in Kumasi; a 2-1 defeat in the 2011/2012 league season. They picked their 20th win in Kumasi against 17 losses and 15 draws. The twilight was when they wrestled down Kotoko to lift the maiden Confederation Cup in Kumasi some 14 years ago at their own backyard.
Though playing away from home, the Phobians are always relaxed and comfortable playing against the boys in red. This is a source of worry for Kotoko who seems to have no antidote to Hearts of Oak’s fire power.
Patrick Razak scored his fourth goal of the season which proved to be the only goal in the game. Coming into the game, Razak had rescued a point for the Phobians against Bechem United on matchday 9 at the same venue, a lack-luster performance which saw their fans go haywire.
Nonetheless, the 22-year-old seems to have elected himself be the savior to drive the team through a thorny season.
His man-of-the-match award was no fluke, judging from how he mesmerized the Kotoko defense before blasting the ball past goalkeeper Felix Anan. He was a tormentor especially at the left side and occasionally switched to the right to cause havoc. The Hearts of Oak official twitter handle after the game labeled him ‘King of Oseikrom’.
With his fine form of late, Hearts are primed to profit from the bulky winger barring any injuries. It will be a big blow if the club fails to convince him to rescind his decision of leaving the club at the end of the season as his contract runs out in November.
Form guide plays no part in Kotoko and Hearts games
Form guide has never been a major factor to predict the outcome of games between these two sides. Even when one team is playing poorly, either Kotoko or Hearts, it is difficult to foretell the winner.
Prior to the game, Kotoko were lying 4th with 14 points whiles Hearts had 10 points occupying the 11th spot. Judging from the league standing it is easy to go in for Kotoko but has never been the case in games involving the two teams. Again, Kotoko had recorded two wins, two defeats and a draw, whiles Hearts had churned out three defeats, a win and a draw. Basically Kotoko were in better form ahead of the game.
Pride, bragging rights and history have always been the talking points after Kotoko and Hearts games, and it’s something so sacred the supporters hold in high esteem for future records.
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