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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Asante Kotoko go back top of the Ghana Premier League table following suspense filled win over Karela

There were plenty of dramatic moments during Asante Kotoko’s 2-1 Ghana Premier League victory over a stingy Karela United side at the Len Clay Stadium in Obuasi on Wednesday, but the Porcupine Warriors are back on top to keep the pressure on rivals Hearts of Oak. Captain Emmanuel Gyamfi opened the scoring and Fabio Gama converted from the penalty spot in the second half after Karela forward Richard Bekoe found an equalizer for the visitors.

Karela struggled to find their footing in the first half and Kotoko looked set to run away with the result after Gyamfi found the goal in the 21st minute. Gyamfi was sent in by a brilliant Fabio Gama through ball and Gyamfi did well to take his time and wait for Karela keeper Richard Baidoo to commit before beating the player on loan from Kotoko with a cool finish. Porcupine Warrior fans were hopeful once the halftime whistle came that their side would proceed to go on to a comfortable victory.

However, the second half was anything but easy for Kotoko. Karela showed renewed vigor and were rewarded for their efforts before the 60 minute mark. A hopeful long range effort from Karela pinballed through a couple of Kotoko defenders to a wide open Bekoe, who had only goalkeeper Kwame Baah to beat and put his shot between Baah’s legs to equalize. Initially ruled to be offside, the referee crew was fiercely accosted by the Karela players and bench before reconsidering their decision and awarding the goal to Karela, rightly so as Bekoe was certainly not offside on the replay.

The controversy would only increase as the match went on. With the game heavily contested, a 72nd minute chipped ball into the Karela box was well controlled by in form Kotoko forward Evans Adomako, who was tripped up by Karela keeper Baidoo as he attempted to go around. It appeared that Baidoo might have gotten a slight hand to the ball, but the referee awarded a penalty to Kotoko and Brazilian creative midfielder/forward Fabio Gama made no mistake to send Baidoo the wrong way and convert his spot kick. Kotoko held out for an invaluable three points to put them top of the table as they wait to see the result of Thursday’s matchup between Hearts of Oak and Legon Cities.

Highlights of each of the goals are below.

Emmanuel Gyamfi’s first half opener

Karela’s equalizer

Penalty awarded and Fabio Gama’s conversion