Kotoko lose unbeaten run as Hearts end slump

Thomas Abbey of Accra Hearts of Oak Christian Thompson/BackpagePix

There was consolidation for some, the end of a slump for one, and a bit of reality check for another as the country's top clubs continued to quest for honours in the Ghana Premier League on Wednesday.

The season has been built on three themes. One is if WAFA, a vital star factory for Ghana football that can translate that into trophies. The second has been the way and manner the fortunes of Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko has been so closely linked, and the third AshantiGold's up and down season.

All three subjects provided interesting twists in midweek and while WAFA establishing a three-point lead was a big one, nothing beats what happened with Hearts and Kotoko. The pair meet in the top liner in the league on Sunday, so naturally the midweek result was going to be crucial.

In that sense it is advantage Hearts. Thomas Abbey scored twice before halftime and immediately after the restart to give Hearts a 2-0 win over Berekum Chelsea. The victory ends a four-game winless run and moves them back into third place above Kotoko.

Kotoko arrived in Accra in very confident mood themselves after going eight games unbeaten, but their bubble was burst by Inter Allies at the El Wak Stadium. Abdul Halik Abdul scored the decisive goal on 28 minutes to hand Allies a vital win that takes them within three points of Kotoko in sixth place.

Both sides ended the game with 10 men after Kotoko defender Evans Quao and Allies striker Isaac Osae were sent off for following a fracas in the penalty box.

Kotoko coach Steve Polack was furious but he has bigger concerns. The loss is Kotoko's first since the Englishman took over, a stretch covering eight matches. He will now be hoping the loss does not set off a bad run with Hearts to come in the traditional Ghana derby on Friday.

While that derby continues to define Ghana football, there have been signs for years now that the two clubs don't particularly dominate the league and WAFA have been providing evidence of that this season. Togo international Komla Agbeniadan opened the scoring for them with a penalty kick midway through the first half before Richard Danso scored a second on 52 minutes after Bechem centre-back Daniel Egyn was sent off for a second bookable offence.

WAFA have now established a three-point lead with a game in hand over Aduana Stars after their closest challengers went down 1-3 in Wa to All Stars.

AshantiGold have mid-table comfort now after yet under win under former Ghana captain C.K Akunnor. Daniel Gozar scored both goals as they Miners beat Bolga All Stars to move three points clear from the final relegation spot with a game in hand. Bolga All Stars look doomed after the defeat left them 14 points from safety.

Meanwhile, Liberty Professionals have been sucked into the relegation battle after Farouk Adams' goal took Elmina Sharks one point above them with a 1-0 win in Dansoman. Great Olympics and Tema Youth complete the bottom three after a draw and defeat respective. Olympics earned a point in Cape Coast against Dwarfs while Tema Youth were beaten 1-0 by Medeama.