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23.01.2005 League Report

Angry Kotoko officials match team off the field

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Accra, Jan 23, GNA - Angry officials of Kumasi Asante Kotoko on Sunday matched off their players from the field with three minutes of play left in protest against a penalty decision in their Coca-Cola Top 4 match against Kpando Heart of Lions at the Ohene Djan sports stadium.

The official led by Mr Jerry Asari, the Accra Representative of Kotoko and Sarfo Gyamfi, a former player of the club asked the players to leave the field of play when FIFA Referee, J.O. Lamptey pointed to the spot after Issah Ahmed had brought down a player of Lions in the box.

The behaviour of the Kotoko officials spurred their incensed supporters to rip of some of the stadium chairs and hurl them unto the pitch in a repetition of what happened in the May 9th stadium Disaster that resulted in 129 supporters losing their lives.

Prompted by the ugly scene, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Helena Cobbina who is also a Board Member of Kotoko came down from the Presidential box to plead with the supporters for some semblance of normality to be restored.

All efforts by officials of GHALCA and other dignitaries for Kotoko to resume play were rebuffed by Jerry Asari who went to the extent of slamming the door on the face of the officials when they tried to enter the tunnel into the dressing room.

The match officials and players of Heart of Lions however remained on the field of play for some time before the stadium announcer came out with a statement that the game had been postponed in view of the prevailing circumstances.

The score, before the penalty incident was one all. Kotoko who played a very good game in the first half were not able to translate their dominance into goals as the good performance exhibited by goalkeeper Mozart Adjetey in post for Lions and poor shooting upfront by their attackers combined to rob them of all the goal scoring chances that they created.

The first nasty incident occurred during the break when supporters of Kotoko hurled objects unto the field in protest of what they deemed poor officiating by the match official and this preventing the referee and his assistants from using their changing rooms.

Back from the break, Lions stunned the Fabulous Lads in the 47th minute when a cross from the right found the head of Starlet's striker, Sadat Bukari whose glancing header went straight into the side of the net for the opener.

Kotoko bounced into life immediately after the goal to redeem their image by stringing some good passes in the midfield but again they found the rear guard of the Lions impregnable.

The Kpando Lads not in the mood to give anything away, regained control of the midfield where substitute Obed Ansah and Yusif Issah controlled affairs effectively.

From their midfield dominance, Lions should have been awarded a penalty in the 66th minute when Bukari was brought down in the penalty box but the referee surprisingly waved play on.

Kotoko's persistence paid off in the 73rd minute when substitute Osei Kwame who had come on earlier for Elvis Opoku took advantage of some slack defending to fire Kotoko back into contention.

The match from then became a ding dong affair as both teams took turns to raid each others goal area without any real threat till the 87th minute when the Lions' player was brought down in the box for the referee to point to the spot that was vehemently challenged by the Kotoko players and officials.

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