CHAMPIONS: Asante Kotoko retain Premier League title with win over Edubiase
By Ameenu Shardow
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Asante Kotoko secured their third Premier League title in a row with an impressive 2-1 win over New Edubiase on Wednesday.
The champions got the job done with first half strikes from Seidu Bancey and Prince Baffoe to seal their 23 league title in Berkwai with two games to spare.
Edubiase who needed the points badly to steer away from relegation looked to be in the mood to cause serious damage right from the blast of the whistle with a series of attacks.
Buoyed by their home fans at the Gyamfi Park, Edubiase laid siege in front of the Kotoko goal area but were unable to make any of the opportunities created count.
Their early profligacy was dearly punished five minutes to the end of the first half by striker Seidu Bancey.
The opener scored by the ex Ebusua Dwarfs hitman meant he returned to the top of the goalscoring chart alongside Augustine Okrah on 12 goals apiece.
Mas-Ud Dramani’s side wrapped up an efficient first half with another goal on the stroke of halftime through midfielder Prince Baffoe.
The champions again in waiting turned up for the second period the more assured side wielding their two-goal lead.
They controlled most parts of the game as the spiritless New Edubiase struggled to get a piece of the action.
Coach Mas-Ud Dramani in a bid to protect his comfortable lead withdrew goalscorer Prince Baffoe and brought on Smallboy Korbah after 62 minutes.
Kotoko however remained the most dominant side and should have increased their lead but for poor finishing of Issa Yakubu in the 68th minute.
Rahim Ayew, Michael Akuffo and Jordan Opoku were combining impressively in midfield to keep the wounded home side at bay.
The game was almost turned on its head in the 70th minute when New Edubiase were handed a penalty after the ball was adjudged to have hit the hand of a Kotoko player in the goal area.
But ex Kotoko striker Stephen Manu stepped up to miss the penalty kick to hand further impetus to the visitors.
Seidu Bancey then had a chance to grab his brace but his strike in injury time was cleared out.
New Edubiase however had the final say with pulling one back through Emmanuel Nti Mensah before the final whistle was blasted to end proceedings to see the Kotoko bench rapture in jubilation over their successful title defence.