A third minute strike by Imoro Ibrahim was all Asante Kotoko needed to secure all three points in their match day 23 encounter with city rivals, King Faisal at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi on Sunday.
It was a win Kotoko needed so badly to redeem their image, having lost twice to Faisal in both the league and the MTN FA Cup this season.
Imoro Ibrahim scored from a free kick just outside the box on the third minute after Fabio Gama was brought down.
Gama came close to scoring Kotoko’s second on the sixth minute following a cross from the right side but his effort went wide.
An appeal by Kotoko for a penalty after Gama was brought down on the 23rd was ignored by referee Richmond Antwi who was very close to the action.
Kotoko continued to push for their second goal and almost found the back of the on the 26th minute, but George Mfegue’s header inside the 18-yard box missed the woodwork by inches.
Another free kick by Imoro Ibrahim in the 39th hit the woodwork and the rebound wasted by Gama who had only the goalkeeper to beat.
King Faisal’s first decent chance of the half came on the 39th minute during a goalmouth melee but goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim was on hand to save Otis Oppong’s feeble strike.
The first half ended with Kotoko maintaining their solitary lead and resumed the second half with a renewed strength as they probed for a second goal.
Both coaches made early substitutions with Emmanuel Keyekeh replacing injured Mudasiru Salifu while Amadu Gadafi came on for Evans Sarfo.
The two coaches appeared to have devised strategies to outwit each other with their midfielders dictating the pace after the substitutions.
With 10 minutes to end proceedings, Coach Amadu Tanko of King Faisal introduced Kwadwo Frimpong and Samuel Kusi for Zuberu Ibrahim and Baba Yahaya respectively.
This brought some urgency in the play of the ‘Insha Allah’ boys, but they found it difficult to penetrate the unyielding defence of Asante Kotoko.
Both sides created goal-scoring opportunities as the 90th minute approached but Kotoko stood firm to secure all the three points in the Kumasi derby.