The super 2 as this fixture has come to be known. It is an encounter between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko, the biggest teams in Ghana dwarfing all others. To fans, Kotoko vrs Hearts is football. It’s the best game in the world. For much of the century-long rivalry, the sides have been evenly matched, adding a genuinely competitive edge, and not just at the national level; they have continental silver-wares in their trophy cabinet. In terms of league titles, the younger club (Kotoko) are also slightly are up on the head-to-head. On match days, one need to be at the stadium early in the morning to gain entry into the stadium to catch a glimpse of the grueling duel and today was no exception. By midday, the stadium was almost packed. Nobody spends a lot of time thinking about the official ground’s capacity but it’s certainly not less than 30,000 who crammed in today. Outside the stadium, drunken men were seen crying because they couldn’t get in; all the gangsters were there, even thieves, because all the money was there. The paid witchdoctors of the two teams took their seats in the stands. Already, they had carried out their pre- match chores. Witchdoctors are so important in such games- even more so than players- that they sometimes get lured by rival clubs. Prior to this game, the two clubs had played each other 103 times with Hearts winning 34 to Kotoko’s 33. More so, they played 5 times in the month of July since 1979 with both clubs recording two wins.
Who was going to earn the bragging rights was the question on the lips of many a football fan; this was a question sports connoisseurs and pundits evaded. Going into the game, Kotoko were poised to repeat the feat they chalked against Hearts in the first half of the season and bring back smiles to the faces of their fans after losing heavily to Dwarfs in mid-week. Hearts on the other hand were on a mission to consolidate their lead at the top and ensure that the dream of annexing the title becoming a reality- taking into consideration how good a venue the Baba Yara grounds has been to them in recent times.
Finally, the moment of reckoning came. The two teams were on the pitch. The fans in their thousands. Red and white, Red, yellow and blue were seen all over; they carried long scarves, flags and horns screaming “Faaaaaaabulous!” and “Phooooooooobia!.” They were spurring their heroes to victory. The stage was set, the atmosphere was tensed.
It was a game of two halves- with Kotoko dominating the first half and the Hearts taking the second. The hosts, Kotoko, parading the likes of Emmanuel Gyamfi, Frank Sarfo Gyamfi started the game with great gusto, dictating the pace, ensuring that the defence of the Phobians had no breathing space. They were indeed thorns in the flesh of the Hearts rearguard but could still not get the match goal but mother luck smiled on them after enterprising calmly controlled a pass from Richard Osei Agyemang, Gyamfi volleyed but Soulama was quick to stop the ball from entering the net but not quick enough to prevent Kwame Boateng’s goal from entering the net. The stadium erupted like a volcano. Kotoko had taken the lead!. That goal brought the best in the Kotoko players who were lethargic. They attacked in their numbers in search of the second goal but the Hearts defence held their own till the half ended.
The game resumed in the 2nd half with Hearts’ Portuguese trainer Sergio Traguil replacing Leonard Tawiah with Eric Kumi.. That substitution perfectly worked for the Portuguese trainer. Kumi’s presence allowed the Phobians to take over the midfield. It didn’t take long for the Phobians to get the equaliser through mercurial Patrick Razak. The Phobians took over the game thereafter but indecisions on the part of Eric Kumi,Ibrahim Musah and Paul Acquah were enough to ensure the match locked in stalemate.
Trophies tend to defy a club’s seasons-but not for these giants. For beating and finishing higher than the other is the biggest prize. Fortunately, the match could not provide a winner but who in your estimation deserves the bragging rights?
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