Kumasi, Sept 15, GNA - Kumasi Asante Kotoko on Wednesday beat Tamale Real United (RTU) 2-1 in the first leg of the GHALCA Special Knockout final football match at the Kumasi Sports Stadium. RTU who played a good game were unlucky not to have earned a draw. They raced into an early lead through a sixth minute goal scored by Alhassan Weah from a free kick taken outside Kotoko's penalty area and held on to this lead until the 43rd minute when Kotoko found the much needed equaliser.
Kotoko who found it hard to keep pace with RTU for a greater part of the first half came close to equalising in the 11th minute but wasted the chance when Frank Osei with only goalkeeper Mohammed Habib to beat, shot straight into his hands after disposing a defender of RTU on the run. RTU who had the game under control nearly increased their tally in the 20th minute after a two-man move that found Alhassan Weah in a good position to score but his shot hit the side netting.
Kotoko struggled to warm themselves into the game and in the 21st minute, Frank Osei again had a perfect chance to find the net but the opportunity eluded as his shot was deflected to corner. In the 25th minute, William Tierro limped off the field and was replaced by smallish George Yamoah who announced his presence with a 31st minute pile driver which was saved by goalkeeper Habib. Two minutes later, RTU also missed a glorious chance to raise their tally when Baba Mumuni with only goalkeeper Louis Quainoo to beat blasted wide of target from a neat pass from Gafaru Abdulai. Let off the hook, Kotoko carried the game to RTU and Charles Taylor who had been inconspicuous all along moved the ball to the flank and after disposing of three defenders centred perfectly for Yamoah to blast home the equaliser in the 43rd minute.
A minute later, Imbola Sanjie missed a good chance to increase Kotoko's score when he lobbed the ball over the head of un-rushing goalkeeper Habib but saw his effort going wide off the mark. William Thompson took over from Joe Hendricks at Kotoko's central defence on resumption of the second half and then after they earned a penalty in the 47th minute when Frank Osei was fouled in the box for Edmund Owusu-Ansah to score from the resultant kick. RTU were undaunted and nearly equalised in the 79th minute when Alhassan Weah had a good opportunity to score after beating a defender but he shot feebly into the hands of goalkeeper Quainoo. The visitors staged a last minute onslaught in the 89th minute as Fatawu Arola tore away from the left flank and centred beautifully but Edmund Owusu-Ansah headed the ball out of play on the nick of time to rob RTU of the much needed equaliser.