The last time Kumasi Asante Kotoko beat Accra Hearts of Oak in a league game at the Baba Yara Stadium was in the 2005 season when they posted an emphatic 3 – 1 victory over their bitterest rivals in Ghana football.
Since then, the Phobians have won four of the five battles fought in Kumasi including the last three, and will be in confident mood of keeping that run going as they play as guests of the Porcupines in the top fixture of this weekend’saction in the Glo Premier League (GPL).
Sunday’s game in Kumasi will the 48th league encounter between the two sides in the Garden City since top-flight football started in Ghana in 1958 and promises to be one of the most keenly contested in recent times. In the previous 47 played, Hearts hold a 20 – 17 winning record over Kotoko, with the two sides playing out 10 drawn games in the process.
A draw is the least result both will be looking for as they go into this battle although if it ends that way, the Porcupines would have maintained their 10 points lead over Hearts at the summit of the league table.
A motivating factor that would urge them on to go for all three points is that dominance the Phobians have held over them in Kumasi since the 2006/07 season, a sequence that has seen Hearts score nine goals in five matches as against four by Kotoko.
In the first round game in Accra, Kotoko were the odds on favourites to collect the three points, but Hearts frustrated them to a goalless encounter despite the result seeing them maintain the leadership of the table then.
The Porcupines still lead the standing with six games to end the campaign after this weekend’s fixtures, and like the Accra game, they are many people’s favourites to collect the three points after 90 minutes of action.
They sit very comfortably at the summit of the GPL table and seem the most likely team to win the diadem at the end of the season.
Kotoko would like to cap that glory with victory over their bitterest of rivals on the Ghanaian scene.
Hearts though have history on their side from the last five encounters, and would be guided by that as they go into this battle knowing they stand in with a chance of winning.
They have won their last two games and that is confidence enough to take into Sunday’s game as they seek to protect their fine run in Kumasi in recent times.
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