Asante Kotoko 1 Hearts of Oak 1: Sadick's effort saves Porcupine Warriors blushes
Goal Ghana
The Porcupine Warriors failed to close in on Aduana Stars in the race for the league trophy after their home draw against the Phobians on Sunday

Asante Kotoko shared the spoils 1-1 with fierce rivals Hearts of Oak in Ghana Premier League matchday 23 outstanding game at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Sunday.

A goal from Kwame Kizito almost handed the Phobians their first double victory over Kotoko in six years but Sadick Adams rose up to the occasion and salvaged a point for the hosts through a penalty.

Kotoko made three changes in their starting XI that lost 1-0 to Inter Allies before they suffered the unfortunate accident on their way back to Kumasi. Defender Richard Osei Agyemang missed the game through injury and replaced by Awal Mohammed while Jackson Owusu and Baba Mahama replaced came in for Quao and Eric Donkor respectively.

Hearts coach Frank Nuttall on the other hand, welcomed back 'livewire' Winful Cobbinah from international duties while Patrick Razak and Kwame Kizito led the attack, with Paul Acquah and Samudeen Ibrahim in the midfield.

After a pulsating opening minutes, Sadick had the first opportunity of the game, when he latched onto a pass from Emmanuel Gyamfi but Vincent Atinga cleared the ball to corner-kick before Adams forced Hearts goalkeeper Ben Mensah to make another save a minute later.

Hearts were struggling to match the pace of their hosts but were defending perfectly at the back. The best opportunity of the half fell to Kotoko by the 34th minute when Ahmed Adams' header missed the target narrowly. The defender rose above Atinga and met Sadick's free-kick but his header went off target.

Razak could have handed Hearts the lead on 40th minute, if he had not decided to go for goal. The winger connected a pass from Cobbinah and could have pulled the ball back to Abbey for a simple tap in but he rather went in for glory and saw his effort hitting the side net.

After the break, Gyamfi combined with Augustine Sefa and the latter released Sadick but the striker could not direct his header on target.

Despite the pressure on Hearts, they were calm and took the lead against the run of play through Kizito by the 57th minute. Cobbinah's split-defence pass found Razak, who squared it for Kizito to tap in for the opener.

Kotoko responded with a quick counterattack but Gyamfi's brilliantly curled strike was tipped to corner-kick by goalkeeper Mensah.

On 69th minute, Sadick was brought down on the edge of Hearts' box but could not take advantage of the opportunity, as his resulting kick was blocked by a human wall.

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Kotoko coach Steve Polack brought on Yakubu Mohammed and Frank Sarfo Gyamfi for Obed Owusu and Mahama and switched to 4-4-2 formation on 78th minute. The substitutions paid off, with the host equalising five minutes later through Sadick. Amos Frimpong's shot was handled by Leonard Tawiah in Hearts' box, with referee Dally Gagba pointing to the spot. Sadick stepped up and sent the goalkeeper to the wrong way for the all-important equaliser.

Kotoko could have won the day with a final clear-cut chance in added time after Atinga's missed kick fell on the feet of Sadick but surprisingly, he failed to send his effort past onrushing goalkeeper Mensah.

Hearts maintain their third place on the log with 40 points, four points behind leaders Aduana Stars, while Kotoko have moved one place up to fourth position with 36 points. Kotoko will travel to Sogakope next weekend to play Wafa in the matchday 24 outstanding game.

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