Sadick Adams scored a first-half hattrick to help Asante Kotoko secure their 9th FA Cup crown at the Tamale Sports stadium.
The former Berekum Chelsea attacker scored inside 90 seconds to give the Porcupine Warriors the opener and added two more goals on the half-hour mark and on the stroke of half-time to give Kotoko a 3-0 lead going into the break.
Hearts Captain Thomas Abbey scored in the second half for an improved Hearts of Oak side but it only counted for consolation as Kotoko wrapped up an impressive victory over their rivals.
Kotoko started the brighter of the two sides and it took only 90 seconds for them to take the lead. Careless play from the Hearts of Oak midfield area allowed Kwame Boahen to intercept and set up Sadick Adams in the Hearts of Oak Penalty area, who exhibited impeccable composure to fire past the helpless Ben Mensah in the Hearts of Oak goal.
The goal inspired Kotoko, who immediately went on the attack again with the marauding Augustine Sefa setting up Kwame Boahen in the far post who fired an angled effort at Ben Mensah to parry it for a corner which he then spilled over before the Hearts defense eventually cleared.
Kotoko continued to put pressure on a nervous Hearts of Oak defense and Sadick Adams fired a freekick straight at Ben Mensah, moments after Felix Annan made an easy safe off Fatau Mohammed.
It was all Kotoko in the first 15 minutes with both Kwame Boahen and Obed Owusu firing straight at Ben Mensah who had been Hearts of Oak most outstanding player up to that point.
After moments of sparse opportunities for either side, the referee called for a water break, giving Frank Nutall an opportunity to alter some tactics.
Right after the break, Hearts of Oak tested Felix Annan for the first time, but the diminutive shot-stopper dove to push Cobbinah’s effort just wide. From the corner, Kotoko quickly turned defense into attack with Emmanuel Gyamfi sprinting past Malik Akowuah on the halfway line.
The former Medeama Man, who had been booked for an earlier silly challenge, dragged Gyamfi back in the attempt to stop him. It was a bookable offense but referee Latif Adaari chose to keep his card in his pocket. Hearts fans breathed a sigh of relief but Kotoko fans were livid.
But from the Freekick, Kotoko won the penalty; off another moment of madness from Hearts of Oak’s defense. This time, Richard Akrofi dragged back Sadick Adams as he readied to take a shot in the area. The former Berekum Chelsea man stepped and converted it to make it 2-0.
Hearts of Oak’s day went from bad to worse on the stroke of halftime. Vincent Atinga attempted to head a back pass to his goalkeeper but the header was weak and Sadick run through to pick the loose ball, rounded Ben Mensah and finishes off for his hattrick.
Hearts of Oak started the second half with more intensity and created chances but Kotoko remained resolute. Patrick Razak and Kizito with feeble efforts cleared by the Kotoko defence.
Nutall poured more men forward, hooking the poor Akowuah for striker Cosmos Dauda as he went in search of a way back into the match.
Ray of light for Hearts
On 60 minutes, Hearts of Oak’s incessant pressure paid off as Thomas Abbey scored to reduce the deficit, connecting Fatawu Mohammed’s cross with a dangling header past Felix Annan to make it 1-3.
Hearts of Oak finally had something to build on and Kizito fired wide moments later before Cobbinah hit a freekick straight at the wall from a good position.
From then on, it was all about game management for Asante Kotoko, who intermittently stopped play just to interrupt the flow of the game. But within the moments of confusion and the threats of spilling over, Sadick Adams still had a chance to score a fourth, but his effort was well wide.
As the sun gave way for the floodlights at the Tamale Sports Stadium, referee Latif Adaari’s whistle brought an end to the Phobian misery as Kotoko lift their 9th FA Cup crown.
They picked up the Ghc50,000 prize money and a place at this year’s CAF Confederation Cup Competition.
Additionally, Kotoko will receive Ghc 150,000 as support money for their participation in the CAF Confederation Cup competition.
By: Fentuo Tahiru/citifmonline.com/Ghana