Accra, July 1, GNA - A Yusif Chipsah's header almost on the stroke of half time was all that Kumasi Asante Kotoko needed to lift this year's President's Republic Day Cup over Dasoman Liberty Professionals in a match played at the Accra Sports Stadium on Thursday. The match played to commemorate the 42nd Republic Day was witnessed by President John Agykun Kufuor who later presented the trophy to the skipper of the victorious side, Joe Hendricks.
The game started on a fast pace after Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports had performed the ceremonial kick off that saw Kotoko dominating the early exchanges from midfield but found it difficult translating their dominance up front where Liberty proved unyielding.
Disaster nearly struck Liberty Professionals when in the eighth minute, Prince Ofori passed out after he fell awkwardly after a jump with Kotoko's Shilla Alhassan and had to be replaced by Issifu Ansah. Kotoko pushed forward and in no time, started opening gaps in the Liberty defence and they came close in the 23rd and 28th minutes but Stephen Oduro and Aziz Ansah could not keep their cool as they blasted their efforts wide off target.
The Kumasi lads who were clearly on top nearly opened the score when a series of headers in the box of Liberty after a corner kick saw Godfred Yeboah's effort shave off the top of the goal post. Liberty who found the going tough had to resort to some rough tackles and got the first yellow card when Adjeman Hansen was booked for a foul on Aziz Ansah.
With a minute to the break, the deadlock was finally broken when Chipsah leaped above the static Liberty defence to nod home a Michael Ofosu Appiah's cross.
After the break, Liberty put in a much better performance and came close on a number of occasions but over elaboration on the part of the strikers especially Felix Boffoe and Jonathan Quartey ensured that the scores remained unchanged.
In the 59th minute, Kotoko nearly doubled their lead, courtesy a fast counter attack that left Aziz Ansah who was playing in an unfamiliar attacking role unmarked, but for the timely save by Liberty's goalkeeper Patrick Antwi.
Jonathan Quartey again came close in the 74th minute but the striker flashed his shot just across the face of the post. Both camps made a couple of substitutions but that did not have any meaningful impact on the game until referee Agbovi blew his whistle to end the proceedings.
During the half time break, the President in line with the theme of the day "A Celebration of the Old Citizens" presented an office key to members of the Retired Footballers Association of Ghana. In a short address, he urged the retired footballers to help groom the up and coming stars to emulate their successes on the continent. He also presented a plague and an unspecified amount of cash to Memunatu Sulemana for being selected to participate in the FIFA All Star team.
Kotoko - Mohammed Alhassan, Michael Ofosu Amoah, Godfred Yeboah, Michael Asante, Joseph Hendricks, Daniel Yeboah, Stephen Oduro, Aziz Ansah/Elvis Opoku, Michael Osei/Rasak Alhassan,Yusif Chipsah, Shela Alhassan/Ibola Sunji
Liberty - Prince Antwi, Stanley Afedzi, Adjeman Hansen, Bawa Mumuni, Prince Ofori/Yussif Ansah, David Addo, Jonathan Quartey, Alex Nii Aryee/Abdul Rasak, Felix Baffoe, Kwame Darko, Michael Helegbe/George Appiah.