Kotoko, Hearts share points in titanic duel

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Kumasi, Nov. 18, GNA –  Defending champions, Asante Kotoko Sporting Club (SC), were held to a pulsating 0-0 drawn game by arch-rivals, Accra Hearts of Oak SC, in their day seven outstanding Glo-Premier League duel at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.

        The match marked the 96th time the two combatants were meeting since the inception of the league in 1958, saw them demonstrating zeal to overpower each other in most part of the encounter.

         David Duncan’s Hearts of Oak came into the match full of determination to salvage their image following some string of unsuccessful outings so far in the league.

         Midfielder Laryea Kingston nearly opened the scores for the visiting Phobians as early as the ninth minute when he out-paced his marker in a solo effort and entered into the Kotoko 18-yard box only to shoot feebly into the waiting hands of goalkeeper Soulama Abdoulaye who reacted swiftly to save the situation.

        A minute later, Laryea again came close to scoring with a well-taken free-kick but the ball missed the post by inches.

        Kotoko, having been let off the hook, marshalled men in defence to ward off the early surging runs upfront by the visitors and succeeded to keep the Hearts attack at bay.

        The Porcupine Warriors, being cheered on by their teeming supporters responded to the occasion with a quick defence-splitting move upfront, and nearly broke the deadlock in the 15th minute but skipper Nti Boakye’s low grounder hit the body of the Hearts keeper for a corner which was wasted.   

        As the game wore on, Kotoko’s Issah Yakubu fired a thunderbolt on the stroke of half time when the going went tough but it missed the target narrowly.

         In the second half, the pattern of the game did not change with both sides concentrating most of the action in midfield and the flanks.

        Kotoko brought on Michael Anaba, Dan Nii Adjei and Nurudeen Ali for Issah Yakubu, Richard Mpong and Michael Helegbe, respectively, however, these changes did little to change the trend of the game.

        Hearts’ Alhassan Ali was red-carded in the 79th minute for rough play on Nii Adjei.

        The game was full of events in the latter part with both sides fighting gallantly to at least salvage a point.

         They all messed up the good chances that came their way.

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