Asante Kotoko aim to stretch their lead over fierce rivals Hearts of Oak to 16 points as they take on the Phobians at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.
Samuel Boadu’s side on the other hand will be looking to maintain their unbeaten record against the Porcupine Warriors this season.
Both teams have enjoyed unparalleled success on the local scene, winning 45 titles between them since the league’s formation in the 1950s.
The fixture, which has earned the nickname ‘Super Clash’, has kept fans entertained with goals, skills, drama, and impressive football over the years.
Road to the Super Clash
Asante Kotoko are going into the match on the back of a 1-0 win over local rivals King Faisal last weekend, breaking a previous two-game losing streak against the Insha Allah boys.
The Porcupine Warriors have been dominant this campaign, taking the top spot with 49 points, eight more than second-placed Bechem United.
Hearts of Oak, on the other hand, started slowly but have moved into the top six with a series of positive results over the last few games.
The Phobians came out victors in a tight battle with Medeama SC last weekend, winning 1-0 thanks to Isaac Mensah’s second-half header.
What the coaches think
Kotoko’s head coach Prosper Narteh has expressed concern ahead of the Super Clash due to the multiple injuries dealt to the players, forcing him to play some of his men out of position.
“My worry is the injury situation in the team, there are so many of them which is not good and if you go into a big game, the “El Classico” of Ghana and you are having several of your players injured, it’s not the best.”
“But that’s what I have, all that I have to do is to manage them at training, make sure the medical team do their best to make sure that they get them somehow 70% fit for the game.”
Hearts of Oak
Hearts of Oak’s head coach Samuel Boadu has stated that he will prepare his side thoroughly for Kotoko and added that the winner will be decided on the pitch.
“What I can say is we will prepare well. Concerning today’s game, we were down a bit but we need to come up ahead of the Kotoko game. Is about preparation and we will prepare well. But then, the footwork will decide and the end of the day will determine the better side.”
Prosper Narteh Ogum will be without several players who are injured ahead of the crunch tie whilst Samuel Boadu can call upon Richard Attah who has made a return from injury.
Kotoko predicted starting XI: Danlad, Nettey, Mubarik, Imoro, Mohammed, Blay, Boadu, Mudasiru, Gama, Mfegue, Etouga
Hearts predicted starting XI: Attah, Fatawu, Korsah, Amankwah, Alhassan, Ushau, Awako, Boateng, Obeng Jnr, Mensah, Barnieh
Since 2006, the two teams have battled on 27 occasions in the Ghana Premier League with Hearts of Oak winning 10 games whilst Kotoko have won seven. 10 draws have been recorded during that period.
The Phobians have lost just one of their last 13 away games against Kotoko, winning six in the process.
This season, Samuel Boadu’s side are unbeaten against the Porcupine Warriors in two games, drawing 0-0 in February and winning 2-1 at the President’s cup in March.
This game has been well balanced in the last few attempts and the story will be no different on Sunday. Both teams will cancel each other out in every department.
Kotoko 1-1 Hearts of Oak
The game will begin at 3 p.m. (15:00 GMT).
It was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. (18:00 GMT) but changed due to recommendations from the Ghana Police Service.
By: Bill Eshun|3Sports|Ghana