Super Clash: Could Hearts vs Kotoko ultimately decide the league winner?
Hearts of Oak and Kotoko to play potential league decider in Super Clash
In less than 24 hours, Ghanaian football fans and followers of Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko would be entertained by two of Ghana’s most dominant and decorated clubs in the nations footballing history. Memories of clashes between these two sides are treasures for all who have always witnessed them.
Regardless of their respective forms going into a match, it is always a billed show of fireworks. Several notable stars of the past and present have made their mark in clashes between these two sides and the rivalry between these two sides goes beyond the football field. And since their first ever official league game in 2nd November 1958 which was a rescheduled following the abrupt ending of the first encounter in August 24, 1958, several transformation has taken place.
Hearts of Oak has since gone on to win 19 league titles making their total 20 and placing them as the second most successful club in the Ghana Premier League. Their feat is only bettered by their fiercest rivals the Porcupine Warriors who have accumulated an impressive and recording setting 23 league titles.
Having recorded over a century of matches between them, we will focus today’s discussion on the last seven between them, starting from 2nd May 2016 when Hearts of Oak played as host to Kotoko at the Accra Sports Stadium. That match ended 1-0 in favour of the Kumasi-based side. The matches exclude the ones played in cup competitions and the Normalization Committee Special Competition.
Both sides managed two wins apiece and the remaining three ended in draws. Kotoko wins all came away from home and Hearts wins were one each away and home. From the period under consideration, no league meeting between the two sides when Hearts of Oak are playing at home has there ever been a draw, All three draws came when Kotoko played as hosts.
Heading into the potential title decider tomorrow, both sides are in purple patch form and are only separated at the top of the table by goal difference which the Phobians hold off their rivals. Samuel Boadu’s side has lost only one game in 15 home matches this season with three draws and an impressive 11 wins. They have scored 32 of their 42 goals at home at a rate of 1.40 per game and also conceded only 8 of their 20 goals at home which represents a concession rate of 0.67 per game. They also boast an impressive 10 clean sheets at home and scored at every 57 minutes when playing at home.
Kotoko on the other hand have played 15 matches on the road this season, 6 wins, 8 draws and one defeat. Impressively, 14 of their 35 goals this season were scored on the road. They also have conceded 8 goals away from home at every 55 minutes. However, every 48 minutes of play on the road, they produced a goal. They have managed 8 clean sheets on the road, one more than they do when playing at home.
Both sides boast of good defensive records with Kotoko being the best defensive team in the league this season so far with their 17 goals conceded and Hearts placing second with 20 goals conceded. Hearts are the joint third best attacking team so far with 42 goals, same as WAFA and one and two behind Ashanti Gold and Dreams FC respectively.
Whoever scores more will win the day and Hearts of Oak can boast of the inform Kwadwo Obeng Jnr who was among the goals in their last outing against Legon Cities in midweek. He has scored nine goals in the league this season and trails the league’s leading sharp shooter by two goals and would be looking to close the gap as the season moves closer to the climax in order to win individual honours. Kotoko also has Kwame Poku who has scored six goals for the Porucpine Warriors. They will however be placing hope on their Brazilian import Fabio Gama to break the Hearts of the Phobians in Accra on Sunday following is recent excellent performances.
Both sides are almost evenly matched in every aspect heading into this match and the difference who only come based on the side that is able to capitalize on its chances, even the half ones. Aside that we could be in for a goalless Super Clash played out in the first half of the season.
In every league game it is always the three points that matter most but tomorrow’s ‘clash of the titans’ in the Ghana Premier League will have more at stake than just that. The fans who will throng to the stadium even hours ahead of kick-off would want to be entertained and fulfilled and that fulfilment would be to earn the bragging rights as the ‘Kings’ of the Super Clash. But which side will be able to fully meet the expectations of its fans and which player will stand out to be counted in the grandest of matches in the Ghana Premier League?
We will not only have the above questions answered when Centre Referee Daniel Laryea blows his whistle to end proceedings but also would have insights on how the season will end.
By: Clifford Adumbire | myactiveonline.com