22.08.2004 Football News

Kotoko qualify for semi-finals

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Kumasi, Aug 22, GNA - Kumasi Asante Kotoko scored two goals in the second half to beat Tema Real Sportive to record a 2-0 win in the second leg of the GHALCA special knockout match played at Kumasi Sports stadium on Sunday.

Kotoko won the first leg 2-1 in Accra last Thursday and today's victory gives them a 4-1 goal aggregate to move to the semi finals of the competition.

Kotoko did not find the game easy in the first half in which Sportive marched them boot for boot, but came back in the second half a refreshed side to score the first goal in the 55th minute through Shilla Alhassan who headed home George Yamoah's free kick.

Frank Osei nearly made it two for Kotoko in the 57th minute but he was a shade slow to connect Imbola Sanjie's pass and allowed goalkeeper Laud Quartey to grab the ball.

Let off the hook, Sportive counter attacked and moved deep into Kotoko's vital area but Samuel Ocran shot wide in a goalmouth melee in the 60th minute and a minute later Sportive made a quick change bringing on Nicholas Mills for Samuel Dickson.

Kotoko also substituted Michael Asante for Stephen Oduro in the 65th minute to strengthen the midfield, which made it difficult for Sportive to penetrate their defence.

The substitution put more bite into the Kotoko attack and that culminated in Elvis Opoku scoring the second goal in the 70th minute after cutting through the defence of the visitors.

Sportive, however, made a last minute effort to reduce the tally but Eric Djangmah's shot in the 80th minute hit the cross bar and bounced back into play to the relief of the home team.

At the Accra Sports stadium Kumasi based King Faisal brushed off the bluff of Accra Great Olympics to beat them with a 2-0 win to advance to the semi finals of the GHALCA Special Knockout Competition in the second leg match on Sunday.

The score line thus gives Alhaji Gruzah's boys a 3-0 aggregate in the two-leg encounter.

Great Olympics who came into the game with a goal deficit suffered in the first leg at the Kumasi Sports Stadium last Wednesday, started the game on a promising note and gave their scanty fans at the stadium an array of hope that this time round they will carry the day and advance to the next stage.

This was rather not to be the case as the "Dade boys" failed to sustain the pressure on the visitors as the game progressed and not even when they had a God sent opportunity to open the scores in the 25th minute that was wasted.

The opportunity came their way when Faisal's keeper, Suraj Mohammed misdirected his kick on the path of striker Amui Quaye, but he surprisingly shot over the bar to deny his side the lead.

After this miss game from then became a midfield battle between the two sides with both sides struggling to establish their dominance. Faisal however benefited from the midfield struggle when they earned a free kick out side Olympics box and the resultant kick was beautifully curled into the net by Ishak Debrah in the 35th minute to end the first half.

The Kumasi lads on resumption became more aggressive and subjected the home team to a sustained pressure in an attempt to increase the tally which never materialised as the likes of Prince Antwi, Eric Gawu and Debrah on numerous occasions blew away scoring opportunities. Olympics in this half hardly made any attempt at goal as every move they initiated was thwarted by the defensive set up of Faisal made up ever-green Godwin Ablordey and Shilla Illiasu.

As the game progressed to the later stage, it was clear that King Faisal were capable of consolidating their lead following the extent of pressure they mounted on Olympics.

This materialised from the foot of Gawu who tormented the defence of Olympics throughout the match. The hardworking striker capitalised on a defensive blunder by defender Victor Antwi to slot the ball home for King Faisal's second goal in the 80th minute.

Faisal from then on reduced Olympics to an ordinary side as they decided to pass the ball among themselves and could have had more goals as the Accra boys appeared worn out and could hardly make any impact in the rest of the game till the end of proceedings.

At Mpraeso the Soccer Mountaineers, Okwawu United failed to qualify for the semi finals of the GHALCA Special Knockout Competition when they were held to a goalless drawn game by Obuasi AshantiGold at the Mpraeso Brightons Park.

Okwawu dominated play after FIFA referee, Alex Quartey signalled the two teams to action with the advantage of getting just a goal to qualify but ended up wasting a lot of scoring chances.

AshantiGold failed to contain Okwawu's slippery attack with Nasiru Ghani combining effectively with Kwabena Yaro and Baba Yussif Yakubu but they failed to make use of three scoring chances that came their way in the 22nd, 40th and 43rd minutes with all their shots going off target. They continued to pile up pressure after the recess but again the trend did not change as they wasted more chances in the 49th and 50th minutes with the defenders of AshantiGold pivoted around experienced Kofi Amoako clearing all the kicks from their danger zone.

The game generated into rough play and referee Quartey had to caution AshantiGold's Tony Baffoe and David Asamoah as well as Okwawu's Tony Tepketey in the second half to stamp his authority on the game. Both teams exhausted their substitutions but no goals were scored after three minutes of added time to end the match goalless.

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