Visiting Accra Hearts of Oak defied an off the pitch heckle to hold arch rivals, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, 1-1 in their 23rd week outstanding Premier League match at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.
Arguably the best player on the day, Winful Cobbina, delivered an impeccable through pass for lurking Kwame Kizito to finished off in the 60th minute in a thrilling encounter watched by a packed stadium.
The match was declared outstanding following last month’s motor accident by Kotoko at Nkawkaw in the Eastern region on their return from Accra after honouring a midweek game against Inter Allies at the El Wak stadium.
A superstition belief nearly took the shine off the otherwise exciting game as irate fans of Kotoko heckled the Hearts players forcing them to use a route they had designed for the visitors to the dressing room.
The drama began when the Kotoko team bus instead of using the entry gate decided to rather use the exit one but when the Hearts team insisted on using the same exit gate, the well positioned fans refused.
And it even became worse when the Hearts team finally made their way into the stadium through the approved gate. Even that they had to battle for them to be allowed to use a particular gate to the dressing room.
Superstition was rife ahead of the game as individuals including journalists were thoroughly searched at the gates for fear of “juju” being planted at the inner perimeter.
Despite the off the pitch drama, limping coach Pollack and assistant Godwin Ablordey defied the pains to push the win but it eluded them.
Kotoko defender Ahmed Adams missed narrowly from a header in the 37th minute while stocky Hearts of Oak winger Patrick Razak, who was a thorn in the flesh of the Kotoko defence fired twice in the hands of goalkeeper Felix Annan while Kwame Kizito fumbled to connect in the 42nd minute.
Kotoko’s bulky striker, Saddick Adams, nearly brought the fans onto their feet in the 56th minute with a header while Baba Mahama’s thunderbolt within the box went of the cross bar as the fans charged to demand for the opener.
Kotoko were in the driving seat from then as Hearts who appeared to dominate the first half recoiled momentarily at the start of the second half.
By the 59th minute, the excitement among the Kotoko fans had risen to the crescendo as captain Amos Frimpong’s near missed from a long drive brought them to their feet.
But a minute after, tall lanky Kwame Kizito silenced the home fans with a simple connection from a calculated through ball handed down by playmaker, Cobbina.
Kotoko redoubled their efforts with series of raids as Hearts were kept on the back foot most of the time to defend the thin lead.
Their attack paid off in the 79th when the referee awarded a penalty to the home team which was converted by Adams a minute after. But Adams the victor became the valian when he blew away a last minute opportunity before an empty posts.
Hearts have won 34 league matches as against 31 by Kotoko in 103 league clashes.