Asante Kotoko 2 Hearts of Oak 0: Ahmed Toure stuns Hearts of Oak at the Baba Yara Stadium

Ivorian hit-man Ahmed Toure stunned Hearts of Oak by scoring the opening goal for Kotoko as they defeated a nine-man Phobian side in an off-season friendly at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Monday evening.

A moment of brilliance inspired by Rahim Ayew cut the Hearts of Oak defence opened as Ahmed Toure powered Kotoko ahead with a 41st minute header.

Rahim broke free on the right, exploiting the weakness of South African Shaun October and weighing in a crossfield effort for Ahmed Toure to head past Tetteh Luggard. The Ivorian striker intelligently outwitting Vincent Atinga to score the opener for the Porcupine Warriors.

Stephen Oduro then climbed off the bench to set up Abdullai Dauda Mohammed who planted a fierce drive into Tetteh Luggard’s net in the 77th minute.

Hearts of Oak’s holding midfielder Leonard Tawiah and defender Robin Gnagne were both sent off in the second-half.

The general expectation among both Hearts of Oak and Kotoko followers was that Herbert Addo was going to name Burkina Faso goalkeeper in goal but the tactician swerved everyone to name Tetteh Luggard in goal.

Richard Yamoah, Togolese Foovi Kwomi and Isaac Oduro all started for Hearts. Ivorian defender Robin Gnagne was handed the armband as Gilbert Fiamenyoh dropped to the bench.

Kotoko coach Mas-Ud Dramani handed a starting role to Ahmed Toure, former Maritzburg United winger Frank Sarfo-Gyamfi, playmaker Obed Owusu and Larbi Koomson.

However, the goal did not break the first-half resolve of Herbert Addo’s men. In fact, the last time they played at the venue, was last month in the GHALCA Top4 final when they fought from a goal down to hold AshGold to a 1-1.

But the Kotoko defence played sturdily as they held managed to protect their lead until the first half petered out. But Didi had to bring on youngster Richard Oti to replace the injury Abeiku Ainooson.

Hearts returned from the break with Kwame Kizito replacing Hamza Mohammed – a tactical substitution to alter the playing formation of the Phobians.

But it was Kotoko who continued to press to cushion their lead but Vincent ‘Kompany’ Atinga held the Ivorian man in good check.

Hearts tried to establish some stability in the middle but play was massively disrupted when Leonard Tawiah was marched off for a second bookable offence. His tackle on Obed Owusu was high-flying and thus his sending off.

Thomas Abbey came on to replace Shaun October. The introduction of Abbey brought some life into the Hearts attack as his pace and trickery produced trouble for the Kotoko defence.

And Hearts’ impetus upfront was further enhanced by the replacement of Ahmed Toure in the 63rd minute. The Ivorian striker was subbed by Latif Amadou due to injury.

But Robin Gnagne had his marching orders in the 81st minute for a silly tackle on Kotoko striker Dauda Mohammed who was trying to showboat.

Hearts had to play defense for the last minutes of the half though Gilbert Fiamenyoh had glaring chances to at least reduce the deficit for Hearts.

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