Asante Kotoko came from behind to deny Aduana Stars from stretching their lead in the ongoing betPawa Premier League in a match week 27 clash at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday night.
Two goals from their foreign imports, Steve Dese Mukwala and Eric Serge Zeze in both halves were all they needed to secure a 2:1 crucial win over the league leaders.
It would have been three consecutive wins over Kotoko if Aduana had won the match having beaten the Porcupines in the first leg and also eliminated them from the MTN FA Cup.
With their title defence ambition almost slipping through their fingers ahead of the match, Asante Kotoko had no option but to win the match to remain relevant in the competition which is entering the home stretch.
They managed to do just that despite a tough opposition from a team which had fetched a lot of points on the road this season.
The first few minutes of the game was largely played in the midfield as both teams struggled to create decent chances in each other’s goal area.
The visitors, however, looked more comfortable on the ball as they stringed their passes together with so much confidence.
But the first attempt at goal was recorded in the 13th minute when Rocky Dwamena pulled the trigger from 35 yards, missing the crossbar by inches to the relief of goalkeeper Joseph Addo.
The Porcupine Warriors after that great effort took control of the match as they dictated the pace with series of attacks in the vital area of the “Ogya Boys” who defended their lines with so much determination.
They punished Asante Kotoko against the run of play after 25 minutes of play when Isaac Mintah connected home a rebound after Fredrick Asare’s first save from Kelvin Obeng’s header.
It was Kotoko’s former talisman, Emmanuel Gyamfi who made light work on Augustine Agyapong before delivering a cross into the box for Mintah to break the deadlock.
Kotoko after conceding sustained their dominance and restored parity 12 minutes later through their Ugandan import, Mukwala.
Agyapong and George Mfegue exchanged some beautiful passes on the right flank before the Cameroonian laid a tailor-measured pass to Mukwala who made no mistake by hitting the back of the net for the equaliser.
The two sides pushed for the next goal which never came until referee Abdul-Latif Adaari brought proceedings to an end for the first half.
Two minutes after restart, Asante Kotoko took the lead for the first time when e Zeze scored his third goal of the season, sending the home fans into wild jubilation.
The Porcupines who were under attack swiftly switched defence into attack after regaining possessing. The Ivorian after receiving a pass from Dwamena turned Sam Adams inside out, picked his spot before placing the ball beyond helpless Addo.
As expected, the goal set the stage for a fierce battle for supremacy as both teams played above themselves in their quest to secure all the three points which they knew could potentially define their seasons.
While Kotoko needed the valuable points to remain in contention for the coveted trophy, a win for Aduana Stars could reinforce their position on the summit of the league log.
The visitors were unlucky to pull even in the 71st minute when Mohammed Alhassan prevented the ball from entering the net after Asare was completely beaten.
They looked more likely to score the next goal as the game entered the last 15 minutes, but Kotoko were resolute in protecting their slender lead.
Referee Adaari ended the match after seven minutes additional time was exhausted as Kotoko recorded their 11th win of the season.