Kotoko Rout Ashantigold
In Kumasi, Asante Kotoko avenged their first round (4-1) defeat at the hands of Ashantigold, routing them 4-0 in the penultimate GT premier league match played in Kumasi.
Kotoko started the match on a fast note as they pinned the visitors to their half and it paid off in the third minute when George Yamoah outpaced a defender and shot past goalkeeper Abubakari Kankani for the opener.
Spurred on by this early lead, Kotoko piled on the pressure but Ashantigold resorted to rough play to keep them at bay and this necessitated referee Cecil Fletcher to flash the yellow card at Asante Boateng in the 13th minute.
Frank Osei attracted the yellow card three minutes later for retaliation.
Ashantigold gradually came into the game and in the 20th minute, Asare Boateng's powerful shot missed the post narrowly. Richard Awuah replaced Boateng for Ashantigold in the 26th minute. However, Kotoko once again took control of the game and scored the second goal in the 43rd minute through Frank Osei who connected a cross. Back from recess, Shilla Alhassan took over from Frank Osei as Kotoko still dictated the pace and appeared a cut above of their opponents.
Ashantigold attacked in the 48th minute and nearly had a goal, but substitute Seidu Dauda shot wide and so did Isaac Amponsah in the 50th minute.
In the 64th minute, Yusif Chibsah scored Kotoko's third goal from a free kick.
Ashantigold were reduced to 10 men in the 87th minute when David Asamoah was shown the second yellow card and then a red for rough play. William Tiero completed the rout with the fourth goal a minute into injury time.
Accra Hearts of Oak on Wednesday emerged winners of the Zone "B" GT Premier League when they chalked a 3-2 victory over Power FC at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Hearts with a match at hand against Liberty Professionals on Saturday, have thus amassed 29 points in the 13 matches so far played, seven clear points ahead of fellow contenders, Kpando Heart of Lions who are behind them with 22 points.
This sets a date between arch rivals, Hearts and Kumasi Asante Kotoko who are also ahead of the Zone A, and to pave the way for the over-all champions of the 2004 GT Premier League next month.
Hearts, fresh from a nerve-racking victory in the Confederations Cup competition against Cotonsport of Cameroon last Sunday, conceded the first goal in the first minute of the game from the head of Sampson Ocran who out-jumped the Hearts defence to nod home Emmanuel Laryes' cross.
The home team parading a blend of regular and new players re-organised themselves and got the equaliser in the eighth minute through Dan Oppong who connected home Lawrence Adjei's cross and after the equaliser, the remaining 37 minutes of the first half was characterised with series of near misses by both teams.
The pattern remained unchanged in the second half with Louis Agyeman and Prince Tagoe being the worse culprits of the day as they missed two glorious clear chances to score.
Tagoe however made amends in the 59th minute when he capitalised on a rebound from the goalie to score after picking a through pass from Agyeman.
Hearts goal lasted for only ten minutes when Ocran was on target again to score a classic goal in the 70th minute when he lobbed a long ball from the edge of the box over the defence of Hearts that zoomed straight into the post for Power's much-needed equaliser.
As the game progressed and all seemed to be heading for a draw, Adjei scored the match winner from a goal-mouth melee after Agyeman had torn the defence of Power with his perfect ball control in the 88th minute. Not even four minutes of added on time by referee Joshua Mensah could salvage the image of the Electricity lads.