Accra, Oct 6, GNA - An 87th minute strike by substitute Gafaru Abdullah earned Real Tamale United (RTU), the Pride of the North their first major trophy in its almost 30 years existence when they won the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA) Special Knockout trophy on the away goal rule at the Accra Sport Stadium on Wednesday.
Abdullah's goal, very vital as such enabled RTU to win the game by a lone goal, which was enough for them to win on the away goal rule having lost the first leg played at the Kumasi Sports Stadium last month by 2-1.
In an encounter of two contrasting halves, it was Kotoko who dominated the first half and came close on several occasions but some courageous goalkeeping by Mohammed Abib and poor shooting by the Kotoko strikers conspired to keep the first half barren.
Kotoko blasted right from the block and in the eighth minute created the first scoring chance when a well worked move from the right flank found Nana Arhin Duah in the RTU box who in-turn cut the ball back unto the path of onrushing Stephen Oduro whose weak shot was blocked by Abib for his defender to clear the ball to safety.
Such was the first half dominance of Kotoko that RTU's game was reduced to occasional breaks, which were not that effective as they were always outnumbered.
The second clear chance came the way of Kotoko in the 22nd minute when Arhin Duah was put through but Abib was again on hand to save his chip.
Next in-turn of Kotoko players to waste another scoring opportunity was Edmund Owusu Ansah who failed to put away a rebound in front of an empty net after the RTU goalie failed to make a first time save of a cross in the 30th minute.
In the second half, RTU was a completely transformed side as they settled early into their pattern and controlled the game from the midfield reducing their opponents to a chasing pack.
Kotoko in a bid to deal with the situation brought on George Yamoah for Michael Ofosu Appiah whilst RTU strengthened their attack with the introduction of Alhassan Weah for Abass Iddrissu.
In the 65th minute RTU came close when Weah's free kick from the about 30 metres just whisked past the posts.
In the 80th minute, RTU made two quick substitutions by bringing on Gafaru Abdullah and Richmond Adjei for Philip Amoaku and Abass Iddrissu respectively.
Just within seven minutes of being on the field, substitute Abdullah ghosted behind a static Kotoko defense to blast his effort into the roof of the net for the winning goal.
Try as Kotoko did in the final moments of the game, they could not draw level as RTU remained resolute in midfield and defence with two minutes of added on time till the final whistle.
After the match there was unconfined joy in the RTU camp as they took a lap of honoraround the stadium whilst the disappointed Kotoko players sunk to the turf.
RTU for the effort took home a cheque of twenty million cedis and a giant trophy presented by Eva Lokko, Director General of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, co- sponsors of the competition whilst Kotoko took home 10 million cedis.