Pulse Sports statistical analyst Thomas Freeman Yeboah takes you through five (5) most memorable league ties between the Phobians and the Porcupine Warriors, as they face each other on Monday, 2nd May, 2016 in Accra
Kotoko were definitely in top gear and with ruthless efficiency, outplayed, outwitted, outjumped, outrun and finally outscored Hearts by an incredible margin of three goals to nothing in this epic outstanding league match.
This was the first time they inflicted their opponent with such a huge margin in a league encounter. The three goals were scored by Opoku Afriyie , Francis Kumi, Kofi Badu.
Kotoko shot into the lead with just six minutes into the game. A free kick just outside the 18 yard box, well taken by George Kennedy found Francis Kumi, whose header was finally connected by Opoku Afriyie to give an early lead.
Francis Kumi and Kofi Badu were at their best and seized the midfield by displaying good dribbling skills.
A pass from midfield located Francis Kumi, who took three giant steps before connecting home the ball to double Kotoko's lead in the 36th minute
With ten minutes to full time Albert 5 Asase headed in what should have been goal number three but referee S. T. Mensah disallowed it because the goalie was fouled.
But put the icing on the cake for Kotoko by netting the third goal in the 86th minute to seal the doom of the Phobians in a never to be forgotten afternoon at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Mama Acquah the oldest player of Hearts' team wept, following the defeat.
This game was cup cum league match.
Superstition took center stage of the game, as Sarfo Gyamfi, an influential player for Asante Kotoko, having been told by a soothsayer that Kotoko would win the game if only one of their players refuses to exchange hand shake with the head of state, Flt. Llt. Jerry John Rawlings during the inspection of the teams.
Another aspect of the superstition was that the same soothsayer who told Sarfo Gyamfi to snub, the head of state revealed to him that two balls would be used for the game: black and white Adidas balls and blue and white ones. However, Kotoko would win the game should they ensure they deflate the blue and white ones any time they are in use, hence Sarfo Gyamfi told Odoom the goalkeeper for Kotoko to put some needles in his gloves for that exercise. Surprisingly Kotoko scored their two goals from the black and white balls, whereas Hearts got theirs from the blue and white balls. Odoom did what he was instructed to do and at the end of the game he ensured a black and white ball was used for the shootout, which Kotoko won.
Sarfo Gyamfi affectionately called Black President was handed an eight match ban for snubbing, the head of state
Kotoko broke the deadlock of the game in the 43rd minute from the foot of Robert Eshun, but back from recess Hearts of Oak drew level through a 54th minute goal from Ollabade Williams.
The porcupine Warriors responded quickly within two minutes to restore their lead through a goal by Thomas Boakye nicknamed 'Zion Train', however young defender Joe Addo secured the much needed equalizer for the Phobians.
This season saw the introduction of penalty shootout after a league game had ended in a draw to give the club that wins the shootout an additional one point, hence two points instead of the usual one point for a draw.
In the shootout Kotoko defeated Hearts of Oak by 7 goals to 6 to win the league game on penalties and subsequently emerged victorious in the anniversary match.
There is nothing we can write to do justice to this game. It is the heaviest Hearts of Oak win against Kotoko; it's Kotoko's heaviest defeat against Hearts. It is stands out as the historic score line in the Hearts-Kotoko rivalry; and it has stood as the height to which the new generation of Phobia players can aspire. It is also the single biggest weapon in the Hearts armoury that will silence a million Kotoko supporters. Ishmael Addo's first half exquisite brace, coupled with Kenneth Sarpong's peach of a goal and Emmanuel Osei Kuffor's gorgeous ghosting goal, are the historic moments in Ghanaian club football that will never go into oblivion.
There was a lot of tension prior to this game, due to Kotoko's 0-4 loss to Hearts of Oak on the same grounds a season ago, thus were bent on avenging that humiliating defeat.
The beauty of the game was marred by the death of 127 fans that lost their lives due to a stampede at the Accra Sports Stadium. This is the worst stadium disaster in Africa.
The first half ended without a goal from either sides, but back from recess , Kotoko shot ahead through a brilliant 60th minute goal by Lawrence Adjei whose 25-metre shot slipped through the hands of goalkeeper Sammy Adjei.
But Hearts' equalizer through Ismael Addo in the 77th minute influenced the incorrigible fans to throw missiles into the stadium in protest against perceived injustice meted out to them by Cape Coast referee J. Wilson-Sey for allowing Addo to equalise from an offside position.
Addo again fired the Phobians into the lead in the 81st minute to secure victory for the Hearts of Oak's team affectionately called the 64 battalions for their fearsome nature.
At the end of the 90 minutes the attention shifted from Ishmael Addo, whose two strikes snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for his side's 2-1 victory, to the dead and injured fans.
The response to this crowd disturbance and throwing of missiles from the police was to fire tear gas into the crowd.
Panic ensued and a resulting stampede led to the deaths of 127 fans from asphyxiation a condition characterised by severe deficient supply of oxygen to the body due to inability to breathe normally.
Kotoko who had lost 1-2 in the first round against Hearts of Oak stormed Accra this time around and avenged that defeat to end their winless streak in Accra in 16 years. The win gave the Porcupine Warriors the momentum to chase for the league title, but it was too little too late, because if they had finished the season on the same points with Hearts of Oak they would have trailed in terms of head to head, so they threw in the towel in the latter part of the season.
In the game itself Francis Couffie’s header from Harison Afful’s freekick in the 75 minute ended their long wait for a league victory in Accra against Hearts of Oak