Asante Kotoko extended their lead at the top of Zone A in the Normalisation Committee Special Competition with a 2-0 victory over regional rivals AshantiGold in Kumasi on Wednesday.
The Porcupine Warriors won the entertaining match thanks to a second-half brace from attacker Fatawu Safiu.
It was a game of two halves. In the first half AshantiGold completely dominated and controlled the game but Felix Annan produced an incredible performance to deny the Miners a deserved lead.
Annan made two saves in the opening five minutes. He saved a low powerful effort from Kofi Nkrumah before blocking Shafiu Mumuni’s close-range strike with his foot.
On 23 minutes, Shafiu Mumuni found space inside Kotoko’s box and curled the ball aiming for the top left corner but Annan incredibly tipped the ball over the crossbar.
Shafiu had another glorious opportunity four minutes later but Annan again delivered a fine save.
Kotoko didn’t really trouble Ashgold until injury time when Jordan Opoku connected brilliantly a rebound but his goal-bound effort was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Frank Boateng.
It was a different Kotoko in the second half. The Porcupine Warriors looked hungrier compared to their opponents. They created three decent chances in the first eight minutes but failed to bury them.
Emmanuel Gyamfi was played through on goal but couldn’t connect into the back of the net.
Fatawu Shafiu got onto the end of a fine exchanged of passes and sent a backheel pass to Prince Acquah before feeding on the return pass to hit a thunderbolt at goal, but his effort sailed over the crossbar.
The goalkeeper Frank Boateng produced a fine save to prevent Jordan from scoring the opener in the 53rd minute.
Ashgold on the other end wanted a penalty after Annan appeared to have tripped Salia Ouattara in the box but referee ruled out the appeal.
Kotoko continued to pile on the pressure and it paid off in the 72nd minute when they scored through Safiu.
The attacker received a neat pass inside the box, beat his marker and curled into the net with three Ashgold players – including the goalkeeper – on the line
Six minutes later Fatawu grabbed another goal when he latched onto a lose ball in the box before calmly slotting home past Frank Boateng.
Ashgold came close to an equaliser in added time when they struck the post.