Accra, Jan 1, GNA - Hard running former Kumasi Asante Kotoko winger, Michael Osei made all the difference when he scored a brace for his new side, Dansoman-based Liberty Professionals when they whitewashed Kotoko 3-1 in a friendly football match at the soon to be closed Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra on Sunday.
The encounter was played in a stadium, which posed a safety risk to spectators as most of the protective railings that shield fans from falling have been removed in preparation for the refurbishment works to be undertaken at the venue.
Despite this danger, the encounter that witnessed a sizable crowd, started on a fast note with Kotoko dominating the early exchanges of action.
Liberty took their time to settle down and in their first real attack in the ninth minute, Michael Helegbe, back from a six month loan spell in Norway, set up Osei who raced past two defenders of Kotoko before wrong footing goalie Eric Nii Baah for the opener. With the floodgates opened, Liberty pushed more men forward and in the 13th minute, Osei nearly made it two as his tap in from a Wahid Mohammed cross was saved by Nii Baah.
The one way traffic to the Kotoko goal area continued and it came as no surprise when in the 19th minute, the Dansoman lads doubled their lead when another former Kotoko player, Kwaku Duah run through the static Kotoko back-line to centre for Kofi Nti Boakye, whose effort rebounded off a Kotoko defender into the net after Nii Baah had saved his initial shot on target.
Sensing danger, Kotoko brought on Ofosu Appiah and Nana Arhin Duah for John Acheampong and Francis Aggrey respectively in the 26th and 34th minutes.
The substitutions however failed to alter the tide as Helegbe and Osei continued to torment the flat-footed Kotoko defence. Osei stung Kotoko for the second time on the stroke of half time after Boakye broke from the wings to set him up. Angry fans of Kotoko did not hide their feelings at the break as they pelted officials and coaches of the team as they made their way into the dressing room.
The second half was not that different from the first but with Kotoko pushing forward to redeem some pride thus forcing Liberty to resort to playing on the break, which they did effectively causing a lot of anxious moments in the Kotoko vital area.
Though Kotoko came close on a number of occasions, Kotei Blankson in post for Liberty proved equal to the task, saving all attempts at goal until injury forced him to leave the field for Patrick Antwi in the 70th minute. Kotoko's push yielded a face saving goal goal for them in the 83rd minute when a Liberty defender handled a Yusif Chipsah free kick in the box for Referee Lamptey to point to the spot. Ahmed Toure, one of the foreign imports of Kotoko, converted the spot kick in the 83rd minute to bring some respectability to the score line.