Hearts of Oak 1-0 Asante kotoko - Late penalty goal settles Super Clash in Phobians favour
Hearts of Oak accounted for Asante Kotoko's first defeat of the season as defender Vincent Atingah converted a late penalty to secure maximum points for the Phobians in the first installment of the 2016/17 Super Clash.
A controversial penalty was all the Phobians needed to earn the bragging rights at the expense of their fierce rivals Kotoko at the Accra sports stadium on Sunday.
Frank Nuttall made two changes to the side that lost at the hands of Tema Youth in midweek. Samuel Yeboah and Samuel Akurugu replaced Cosmos Dauda and Ben Mensah respectively. But his opposite number, Zdravko Lugarusic replaced Abeiku Ainoonson with a forward Frank Sarfo Gyamfi, who got the only goal against WAFA.
The first half was dominated by the Porcupines and were unfortunate not to take the lead as they missed a series of chances.
Eric Donkor cross was met by Ahmed Adams but the unmarked defender’s header from close range went wide. Thereafter, Michael Akuffu's free-kick sailed comfortably over the top of crossbar before Yakubu Mohammed threatened twice in the 24th minute. First was a shot from the penalty area saved by Akurugu before an audacious overhead kick missed the target narrowly.
Yakubu, again, came close. Frank Sarfo Gyamfi wriggled his way through a couple of challenges before teeing up the former Ashgold striker but his shot was easily gathered by Akurugu.
Kotoko goalie Felix Annan was on virtual holiday as the Phobians failed to test him.
But it was Hearts who got the first chance of the second half. A tactical switch by Nuttall saw speedster Patrick Razak replace Daniel Kodie and his first contribution resulted in Alexandre Kouassi hitting the side net with a powerful strike.
Hearts continued to dominate as Kotoko run out of steam but Lugarusic responded by bringing on nibbled-footbed Baba Mahama in the 67th minute. Mahama weaved his magic instantly but failed apply the needed finish.
However, with eight minutes to end proceedings, Hearts were awarded a penalty as referee Samuel Sukker adjudged Ahmed Adams to have handled the ball in the box. Vincent Atingah made no mistakes as he converted with aplomb to settle the feisty clash in Hearts' favour.