A week after suffering a crushing defeat to rivals Hearts of Oak, Asante Kotoko could not get themselves back up to defeat local rivals King Faisal and labored to a 1-1 draw, further lessening their chances of catching Hearts in Ghana Premier League title race. With the Phobians set to take on Ebusua Dwarfs on the road Sunday, Kotoko could only cut the deficit to two points with the draw. In the other match on Saturday, another 1-1 draw took place between mid-table sides Legon Cities and Bechem United.
Kotoko were sluggish throughout the match and once again were very one dimensional in attack, depending on Brazilian playmaking star Fabio Gama to provide the creative spark. An energetic start from King Faisal, who are still very much in danger of being relegated, was enough to put one of Kumasi’s lesser known sides on the front step with a strike by the 15 minute mark. Wide midfielder Enoch Morrison cut inside from the right flank and sent an accurate inswinging cross to the far post, where Zubairu Ibrahim snuck in ahead of Kotoko full back Samuel Frimpong and shot past helpless keeper Kwame Baah.
In the end, King Faisal will be disappointed that they did not come out of the match with three points. 20-year-old standout forward Kwame Peprah was influential the whole match and had a convincing penalty appeal denied when he appeared to be dragged down by Kotoko defender Andrew Kwadwo Appau later on in the first half. In the second half Peprah had a golden opportunity when he made an excellent run and received a pass well, rounding Baah but stunningly sending his shot off the post with an empty net to aim at.
The hosts certainly had their spells of dominance as the more fancied side but often failed to threaten the goal of Faisal keeper Danlad Ibrahim, the young talent on loan from Kotoko who started on Ghana’s Africa U-20 Cup of Nations winning side earlier this year. However, Ibrahim looked shaky on aerial balls throughout the match and late on this would cost Faisal the three points. In the 84th minute a lofted free kick into the box saw Ibrahim fail to corral the ball while being contested, and Appau sent a shot towards the empty goal that was headed in by substitute striker Andy Francis Kumi to equalize for the Porcupine Warriors and salvage a point.
Later in the day in Accra, Legon Cities and Bechem United dueled to a 1-1 stalemate. 21-year-old striker Jonah Attuquaye, who featured on the Ghana U-23 national team’s recent tour of Asia, chested down a long ball in the 9th minute and unleashed a gorgeous looping strike beyond Bechem keeper Prince Asempa to open the scoring in style. After struggling to get into the match in the early stages, visitors Bechem equalized from a free kick when Emmanuel Annor nodded in from close range in the 60th minute and the teams ended up sharing the points.
Highlights from both matches are below.