Liberty Spank Kotoko
Kwame Obeng Darko on Sunday became an instant hero when he banged in three goals to see his side Liberty Professionals, beat Kumasi Asante Kotoko 3-1 at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra in the 18th week GT Premiership.
Obeng Darko, who was a constant thorn in the flesh of Kotoko capitalised on defensive blunders of the visitors on all three occasions to record the hat-trick.
The tall and well built striker opened the scores in the 4th minute when he benefited from a swift combination with Felix Baffoe, who set him up to slot in the first goal.
Obeng Darko and his men upfront could have buried Kotoko, with at least four more goals before the close of the first half, as their counter attack approach worked to perfection, but poor shooting and lack of imagination in the vital area of Kotoko denied them many more goals. Playing without their head coach Karimu Zito, who was reported indisposed after a reported attack on him by robbers a day before the match, Kotoko, made occasional attempts at redeeming their image but were unable to make use of the scanty chances they crafted, as the lone goal advantage of Liberty hanged on till the close of the half. Kotoko came into the second half with renewed spirits and cancelled the lead through Nasiru Ghani who was lurking in the six-yard box of Kotoko, tapped in George Yamoah's incisive cross in the 46th minute.
The equaliser killed off the fighting spirit of the homers who came under incessant pressure from Kotoko.
This was however short-lived as Obeng Darko stunned the large army of Kotoko supporters again, when he lobbed the ball over keeper Mohamed Alhassan after skipper Issah Ahmed had failed to make a perfect clearance in his area in the 68th minute.
Though Kotoko fought back to appease their vociferous fans in stands, it was not enough to fetch them the equaliser and their plight was worsened in the 88th minute after Obeng Darko's dummy on the left saw him beat struggling Keneth Ababio and raced deep into the box, before thumping the ball in for his personal third.
For coach Jones Attuquayefio of Liberty, the victory was a morale booster for his boys who are poised to clinch their first league title since they joined the elite league in the mid 90s.
The results however changed the fortunes of both teams as Liberty moved a step ahead on the table, occupying the fourth position with 31 points with Kotoko conceding their leadership on the table to Faisal.