Asante Kotoko left it late before they could book their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup after defeating a resilient NEA Salamina side 2-1 in the outstanding fixture at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Wednesday.
A goal either side of the half by Sadick Adams and captain Amos Frimpong ended the fairytale run of the second-tier side, who were hoping to achieve yet another giant feat.
Kotoko's coach Steve Polack paraded a strong side against Salamina, starting Black Stars goalkeeper Felix Annan in post, while Augustine Sefa, Amos Frimpong, Awal Mohammed and Ahmed Adamsade were in defence.
Jackson Owusu shielded the defence and Kwame Boahene, Isaac Quansah as well as Emmanuel Gyamfi completed the midfield with Obed Owusu and Saddick Adams leading the attack.
After a slow start to the game, Kotoko quickly took charge of the midfield with Sadick coming close to fetch the opener by the third minute but, he was flagged offside. The former Atletico Madrid youth star soon failed to connect a through ball, letting the visitors off the hook.
Salamina came back into the game on the ninth minute, when Gyan-Fosu Antwi broke lose against the run of play but Kotoko's Awal was quick to clear his lines for a corner kick.
On the 12th minute, Sadick then made amends for his initial missed chances, as he connected a pass from Gyamfi and fired past goalkeeper Ernest Arthur for the opening goal for Kotoko.
Salamina almost found the equaliser on 26th minute after Ahmed Adams' missed kick was picked up by Obeng Junior but the striker's effort was denied by the post.
However, Obeng finally found a breach in Kotoko's back-four nine minutes later to send the game to 1-1 to silence the home fans.
Polack made his first substitution of the day by the 50th minute mark when Sadick signalled he couldn’t continue and his place was taken by Yakubu Mohammed while Seth Opare came in for Isaac Quansah few minutes later.
With 12 minutes remaining, Kotoko were handed a numerical advantage after Salamina's Nti Sadafos was shown red card for a bad tackle on Kwame Boahene. However, the visitors brought on defender Kwadwo Amoako for striker Atta Antwi to tighten their defence and rely on counter-attack.
The hosts pushed more men upfront for the winner but Yakubu and Owusu fluffed several opportunities leaving their supporters frustrated.
However, substitute Opare was brought down by a Salamina defender in the last minute of additional time and skipper Frimpong stepped up to send the goalkeeper to the wrong side for the match-winner.
Kotoko will lock horns with Wa All Stars in the semi-finals while Hearts of Oak also battle Medeama for the ticket to the final.