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Other Sports of Thursday, 26 October 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

2017 MTN FA CUP FINAL: How Hearts and Kotoko got there

Citi Sports’ Daniel Koranteng looks ahead to this Sunday’s MTN FA Cup Final between rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko at the Tamale Sports Stadium.

Ghana’s two biggest clubs Hearts and Kotoko go head-to-head on Sunday in the final of this season’s MTN FA Cup at the Tamale stadium.

It’s been 27 years since the two teams last faced each other in the final of the competition and it’s sure to produce fireworks.

Both clubs have won a combined 18 FA Cup titles (9 each) and will be going all out to clinch a 10th for superiority.

Hearts’ road to the final

Results

Round 64: 2-1 Sporting Mirren

Round 32: 4-0 Kotoku Royals

Round 16: 1-0 Young Wise

Quarter Final: 1-0 Danbort FC

Semi-Final: 2-1 Wa All Stars

Hearts of Oak’s path to the final has been a fairly comfortable one with early round wins against lower division sides Sporting Mirren, Kotoku Royals and Young Wise before a hard fought semi final victory over last season’s league champions Wa All Stars.

The Phobians have scored an impressive 10 times en route to the final and have had a decent record against Kotoko this season registering 2 wins a draw and a penalty shoot-out loss in the 4 meetings.



Head coach of the side Frank Nuttal is upbeat about the game and is confident the trophy will be on its way to Accra come Sunday.

“To be honest I don’t look at the history books because it’s in the past. It is the same teams but the players are different, so it doesn’t really have any impact. We are approaching the game as a cup final regardless of who we are facing, and we are physically, mentally and tactically prepared for the game,” he said.

Kotoko’s road to the final

Results

Round 64: 1-1 (3-1 penalties) Bekwai Youth Academy

Round 32: 1-0 Proud United

Round 16: 1-0 Wassaman


Quarter Final: 2-1 (ET) Nea Salamina

Semi Final: 1-0 Medeama

Kumasi Asante Kotoko, on the other hand, have had to battle hard to make the final. The Porcupine Warriors began the tournament in the Round of 64 with a hard-fought penalty shootout win over lower-tier side Bekwai Youth Academy.

They went on to register successive 1-0 victories against Proud United and Wassaman FC respectively to earn a quarter final spot.



Kotoko secured passage to the semi finals courtesy a controversial extra time penalty to upstage division one side Nea Salamina before a narrow win over Tarkwa-based Medeama in the semis sealed a place in the final.

Goal scoring has been the main problem for Kotoko this season and they have managed just 6 goals en route to the final.

Head coach of the side is Steve Pollack and he has urged his side to find their scoring boots ahead of the final on Sunday.

“Goal scoring is an art and we work on it in training but at the end of the day you just have to score the goals.

“You either want to score or you don’t and my players have the ability to score goals. As a coach all I can do is to put them in a position to score the goals, but I can’t put on boots and score for them. So they need to start scoring,” he said.

The fact is that when these two teams meet, form doesn’t matter. So forget everything and brace yourselves for an explosive battle between two bitter rivals hungry for silverware.

The stage is set. Tamale is ready and Ghana is ready for what promises to be one of the most titanic footballing encounters the country has witnessed in years.
This final is simply unmissable.