Afriyie strikes as Hearts of Oak defeats Asante Kotoko in Ghanaian Premier League clash
The Phobians emerged in the showdown at Accra Sports Stadium thanks to a single goal
Hearts of Oak claimed bragging rights, three points and an advantage in the title race as Daniel Barnieh Afriyie struck to secure a 1-0 home win over rivals Asante Kotoko in the Ghanaian Premier League on Sunday.
The Ghanaian Under-20 captain found the back of the net after half-time in the top-of-the-table clash, with his goal ultimately being the separating factor in Matchday 31 at Accra Sports Stadium.
While the teams were level on points leading up to the Super Clash, the Phobians are now three points clear in the lead, with just three more rounds to go.
Hearts coach Samuel Boadu entrusted Afriyie with the management of the team that day, supported by playmaker Razak Salifu and winger Patrick Razak. Ghanaian international Mohammed Alhassan was deployed to center-back.
Brazilian midfielder Fabio Gama, who scored and scored another goal in Kotoko’s last game against Karela United, was due to rekindle the magic of the Porcupine Warriors, alongside Ghanaian center-back Ismail Abdul Ganiyu.
Surprisingly, Ghanaian goalkeeper Razak Abalora lost his starting place in Kotoko to Kwame Baah.
The hosts started strong, taking the game away from the visitors and winning two corner kicks in the opening two minutes.
In the fourth minute, Hearts tested Baah after Salifu gave Emmanuel Nettey a short free kick, but the latter’s shot did not worry the goalkeeper.
In the 20th minute, Hearts goalie Richard Attah was called into action, saving Patrick Asmah’s free kick.
On the other side, Baah had to react appropriately to prevent Mohammed Fatawu’s effort after receiving a looping pass from Frederick Ansah Botchway.
After the half-time break in the 62nd minute, Gyamfi tried to find the back of the net with a first shot following a through pass from Gama, but the shot went off target.
In the 66th minute, Afriyie finally broke the deadlock for the Phobians at close range, shooting for the first time on a U-turn past Baah after a low shot was pierced into the penalty area.
Kotoko tried to come back, but with their struggle to create clear scoring chances, they were left helpless when referee Daniel Laryea ended the game after four minutes of added time.