NC Special Cup Tier II Semi-Finals: Kotoko Vs AshantiGold – Porcupine Warriors in the hunt for second final slot
After beating bitterest rivals Accra Hearts of Oak to clinch the ticket for the Tier I final Charles Akonnor’s Asante Kotoko side are in the hunt to win themselves another final berth.
This time, they face AshantiGold from Obuasi at the same grounds they defeated Hearts of Oak on Sunday.
Kick off: 15:00GMT
Venue: Accra Sports Stadium
Telecast: GTV & GTV Sports+
TV Host: Erasmus Kwaw
Game: Tier II semi-finals
Kotoko are boosted by their great win over Hearts and are poised to claim another win over the Elephants who are also based in the Ashanti region – Obuasi, one of the leading gold mining towns in Africa.
AshantiGold’s Shafts watched in disappointment at the Len Clay Stadium as goal wizard Diawisie Taylor scored a 94th-minute strike to punch them out of the Tier I competition.
AshantiGold, also known as the Miners or the Elephants, still remain shellshocked about their loss to Karela United and must recover quickly to face a highly confident Kotoko side.
Captain Shafiu Mumuni remains a deadly weapon for any defence on any day while midfield merchant Appiah McCarthy, Mark Agyekum, Abdul Latif Anabila and Ivorian Richard Ella Djodi, who didn’t start against Karela on Sunday, will have to be at their best to apply the brakes on Kotoko.
Norwegian gaffer Kjetil Zachariassen will remind his boys that playing in Africa next season will mean more work and getting the results as they must beat the old enemy on Wednesday. Still reeling from the home defeat against Karela on the Tier I semi-final matchday, Zachariassen must charge his boys to be at their best at the national capital.
Their defeat came in the cruellest of fashions as Taylor sunk a dagger into their hearts at the last minute of the cagey encounter ending hopes of reaching both final of the Tier I and II.
Ivorian Ella Djodi could return to start against Kotoko as he missed out on the starting role against Karela. Details of his absence remain scanty.
James Akaminko and Amos Addai both weren’t on the starting line up on Sunday but could be selected if available.
Meanwhile, Charles Akonnor might hand a starting berth to Burkina Faso dangerman Songne Yacouba who didn’t feature against Hearts of Oak due to match fitness concerns.
Daniel Nii Adjei is available for selection alongside 37one-year-old experienced midfielder Jordan Opoku Darko.
Maxwell Baakoh – Kumasi Messi and Richard Senanu (injured) and Felix Annan (international duty) are all out for Kotoko.
NCSC Opta Stats
- Kotoko defeated Real Tamale United and Nkoranza Warriors before edging past Berekum Arsenal in the quarterfinals.
- They met twice in the Tier I league, Kotoko won 2-0 in Kumasi, whilst Ashanti Gold won 1-0 in Obuasi in the reverse league. Mark Agyekum struck the solitary goal of the game as the Miners fell Kotoko in Obuasi in the Tier I.
- Kotoko showed they have the best of defences in the Tier but their record in terms of conceding a goal in the Tier II isn’t encouraging for Akonnor. They conceded at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium against RTU and Berekum Arsenal.
- This will be the first time Kotoko will be playing outside Kumasi in the Tier II.
- Last eight (8) competitive encounters have produced equal wins for either sides. (W3 D2).
- On September 14, 2016, AshantiGold whipped Kotoko 5-3 in a goal bath game at the Len Clay Stadium in Obuasi.
- The last eight (8) competitive fixtures have produced 17 goals with AshantiGold scoring nine (9) goals against Kotoko’s 8.
- Only March 2016’s game has failed to produce a goal within regulation time.
- Just like the Tier I semi-finals regulations failure to produce a winner within regulation time would pitch the sides on penalty shootouts.
AshantiGold Probable XI:
Frank Boateng – Yussif Mubarik, Emmanuel Nti, Richard Osei Agyemang – Roland Amouzou, Abdul Latif Anabila, Appiah McCarthy, Richard Djodi, Amos Kofi Nkrumah – Shafiu Mumuni (C), Mark Agyekum
Asante Kotoko probable XI:
Danlad Ibrahim – Augustine Sefa, Evans Owusu, Wahab Adams, Abdul Ganiu, Amos Frimpong – Emmanuel Gyamfi, Kwame Bonsu, Naby Kieta – Abdul Fatawu Safiu, Songne Yacouba.