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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Asante Kotoko keep pace with rivals Hearts of Oak by winning at Inter Allies

The title race in the Ghana Premier League sees rivals Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak back tied on points at the top following Kotoko’s 3-2 victory at last placed Inter Allies on Monday. Only goal differential sees Hearts in the lead at this point with less than two weeks to go until Ghana’s biggest derby between the two teams take place with major implications.

There has been no such thing as an easy match in the league this season, particularly when teams have to go on the road and Inter Allies played with the urgency of a team looking to climb out of the relegation zone. The El Wak Stadium was a hostile environment for Kotoko and the Porcupine Warriors had to bring their best to maintain their title ambitions. Kotoko opened the scoring in the 26th minute with a well worked goal, Patrick Asmah’s early cross finding Evans Adomako who nodded the ball back across the Inter Allies goal for captain Emmanuel Gyamfi to apply the finish.

The hosts responded ten minutes later when Nafiu Suleman drove down the left side of the Kotoko penalty area past Christopher Nettey and cut back for Alex Aso to equalize. Gyamfi was involved in the response for Kotoko five minutes before halftime when he took down a cross and poor defending gave him room to put a low cross to Adomako for a close range finish.

Things calmed down a bit after the halftime break but the tension remained high. However, the hosts continued to push and desperately seek an equalizer in hopes of gaining three points. After Kotoko keeper Razak Abalora made a couple of saves and was bailed out by a goal line clearance earlier in the half, Inter Allies found their equalizer in the 64th minute, Andy Okpe heading home a corner kick to increase the nerves of Kotoko fans. However, Brazilian playmaker Fabio Gama came to the rescue of the Porcupine Warriors by supplying a perfect free kick service to find the head of Andrew Kwadwo Appau. It was a huge goal for the 19-year-old and ultimately the goal that gave Kotoko three precious points on the road.

Highlights of the match are below.