Asante Kotoko took a huge step towards Ghana Premier League title as Mbella Etouga’s penalty proved enough to beat sworn rivals Hearts of Oak at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday.
The Cameroonian slammed home the first-half winner after Brazilian Fabio Gama was fouled by Hearts midfielder Abdulaziz Nurudeen.
The victory extends Kotoko’s lead over Hearts to 16 points, while keeping them 8 points ahead of second-placed Bechem United.
After failing to beat Hearts in their previous two meetings this season, Kotoko came into the game determined to win for the first time, and they got off to a strong start.
They pressed Hearts from the start, forcing errors in the first few minutes. In the third minute, Kotoko’s stand-in captain Ibrahim Imoro wriggled his way into the box and hit the frame of the post.
Hearts struggled to deal with Kotoko’s intensity and were eventually conceded a penalty. Nurudeen was penalized for blocking Gama with his outstretched hand in the box.
Etouga, who had been chastised for poor performances against Hearts in the league and President’s Cup, stepped up and confidently scored to put Kotoko ahead.
Hearts recovered after conceding and attempted to level the score, but Kotoko’s defence held firm, limiting the Phobians to long-range efforts.
Before halftime, however, Hearts captain Fatawu Mohammed had a great chance but blasted over under no pressure.
More to follow