Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko and arch-rivals Hearts of Oak each spurned a penalty as they settled for a 0-0 draw in their rescheduled matchday 14 clash in the Ghana Premier League on Sunday.
Kotoko’s Kwame Opoku missed a spot-kick just minutes into the game before Hearts’ Isaac Mensah followed suit after the break in the showdown at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The result has left both teams tied on 24 points but the Phobians sit higher in the fifth position due to a better goal difference.
Brazilian playmaker Fabio Gama Dos Santos headlined Kotoko’s line-up, which also included key striker Opoku, who had five goals to his name coming into the derby.
Hearts’ latest signing Salifu Ibrahim, who was announced on Saturday, was unsurprisingly absent from the matchday squad but talismanic winger Patrick Razak, as expected, made the starting XI, alongside Kwadwo Obeng Junior and Victor Aidoo.
It was indeed a dramatic start in Accra as Kotoko received a penalty in just the second minute of the game after Opoku was brought down in the box. The striker elected himself for the kick but saw his third-minute effort saved by Hearts goalkeeper Richard Attah.
Three minutes later at the other end, Hearts produced a warning roar of their own as Razak’s low shot struck the upright, having capitalised on some loose marking to latch onto Abdul Fatawu’s through-ball.
The Phobians tested the Porcupine Warriors again moments later but goalkeeper Razak Abalora was alert to block a dangerous ball with his foot when Obeng tried to dribble past him.
After Gama hit a shot wide, Guinean striker Laby Laye Keita was presented with an opportunity to put Kotoko in the lead but his effort flew over the bar from close range in the 34th minute.
A minute to half-time, Razak went searching for a goal once again but, after going past two Kotoko defenders, his near-post shot was denied by Abalora.
Moments after the interval, Keita, in a bid to make up for his earlier miss, unleashed a shot from outside the box but his effort was collected by Attah on the second attempt.
In the 65th minute, Emmanuel Gyamfi shot into the hands of Attah.
Hearts were awarded their own penalty in the 70th minute but substitute Mensah, like Opoku, failed to convert from 12 yards.
Three minutes prior to full-time, Opoku almost snatched a sensational winner for Kotoko but is powerful drive struck the woodwork, to the relief of the Phobians.
Both sides attempted desperate late efforts for a winner but failed as the referee brought the game to an end after three minutes of added time.
Kotoko and Hearts are unarguably the two biggest clubs in Ghana and the most successful in GPL history, with 23 and 19 titles, respectively.