Etouga on target as Asante Kotoko strike down Hearts of Oak in Kumasi
In the Ghana Premier League on Sunday, Asante Kotoko defeated arch-rivals Hearts of Oak 1-0 at home thanks to a Franck Mbella Etouga goal.
The Cameroonian striker was the day’s hero, as his penalty earned the Porcupine Warriors three points against their arch-rivals.
In the matchday 24 match at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, the Cameroonian’s first-half penalty was the difference.
It was the GPL’s top scorer’s 16th goal of the season, capping up a productive debut season with the club.
Meanwhile, the Porcupine Warriors lead the table by eight points, comfortably on course to win their first league title since 2014.
Hearts, on the other hand, are in sixth place, 17 points behind the league leaders and in risk of losing their league title.
The in-form Etouga and Brazilian playmaker Fabio Gama led Kotoko’s first XI, who is striving to reclaim a permanent berth in Prosper Narteh Ogum’s starting lineup after returning from injury.
Hearts’ starting lineup was led by playmaker Gladson Awako, but the biggest team news was the absence of former Ghana star Sulley Muntari from the matchday roster, while new acquisition Samuel Inkoom, Muntari’s 2010 World Cup teammate, was named to the bench.
Imoro Ibrahim nearly put the hosts ahead in the third minute when he pounced on a loose ball, but his shot, after a beautiful dribble, hit the woodwork.
Still on the attack, Kotoko were rewarded for their early efforts when referee Kennedy Padi awarded a penalty after Nurudeen Abdul-Aziz was adjudged to have fouled Gama in the area.
On 17 minutes, Mbella stepped up and converted a penalty to put his team ahead 1-0.
Imoro attempted another goal from a free-kick after the break, but his shot went over the bar.
Hearts coach Boadu brought in Inkoom for a match against his previous club in an attempt to improve his team’s performance.
Kotoko still had the upper hand. Gama had a fantastic opportunity to increase their advantage in the 68th minute, but he only managed to hit the side netting.
After a flurry of half-chances for both teams, referee Padi called the game to a close after five minutes of injury time.