Accra, Aug 19, GNA - A spectacular overhead kick by Stephen Oduro set the tone for a Kumasi Asante Kotoko victory over "stubborn" Real Sportive of Tema when they beat them 2-1 in the first leg of the second round of the GHALCA Special Knock-Out match at the Accra Sport Stadium on Thursday.
The goal which brought Kotoko on level grounds came after Sportive who gave a good account of themselves throughout the game took the lead in the 16th minute, courtesy a spot kick after Joe Hendricks had brought down a Sportive attacker in the penalty box.
Goalkeeper Laud Quartey, formerly of Accra Hearts of Oaks elected himself for the kick and he expertly converted it to register his side's well-deserved lead.
Kotoko sprung back to life after the goal pinning Sportive to their own half and nearly pulled even in the 20th minute when Laud Quartey spilled a Stephen Oduro shot but before Nana Arhin Duah could pounce on it, Sportive's Mark Ansah was on hand for a timely clearance.
Sportive gradually warmed themselves into the game, fighting hard especially in the midfield but found the going very tough at the final touch where their strikers had a torrid time with Kotoko's rear guard ably manned by Joe Hendricks and Issah Ahmed.
Kotoko from nowhere pulled even in a very spectacular fashion in the 34th minute when Oduro amazingly managed to redirect a non-drop shot across the face of the post by Kwame Attram with an overhead kick into the net with Laud Quartey nowhere to be found.
Kotoko with their tails up, pushed forward in search of more goals and moments later Arhin Duah was put through but his effort went wide. From the break, Kotoko brought on Elvis Opoku and Edmund Owusu Ansah to strengthen their ailing midfield where Sportive had dominated to some extent.
The effect was immediate as Oduro came more into the picture covering every part of the field stringing passes and creating some anxious moments for the Sportive defence who laboured to keep the game level.
But again the league debutants who were not overawed fought back with some good teamwork but their attack led by William Gbedzeke could not take advantage as they wasted chance after chance.
Kotoko, roared on by their vociferous supporters finally silenced Sportive in the 80th minute when tormentor-in-chief, Stephen Oduro chipped the ball unto the path of Arhin Duah who ghosted past the Sportive defence to slot in the second goal.
The Porcupine Warriors in dire need of total victory pushed more men forward to further extend their lead and in the 82nd minute, Arhin Duah was put through but this time around luck eluded him when he fired wide.
Kotoko suffered a set back five minutes to the end of the game when William Addo got injured and the Fabulous boys had to play the remainder of the game with 10 men since they had already exhausted their substitution but Sportive could not take advantage to draw level. 19 Aug. 04