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Sports News of Thursday, 17 September 2020

Source: Happy 98.9FM

Today In Sports History: Asante Kotoko beat Hearts 6-5 to book FA Cup final slot

On this day 17 September 1961 (Exactly 59 years ago today) Asante Kotoko defeated Hearts of Oak 6-5 in their FA Cup semi-final replay at the Kumasi Sports Stadium.

It was one of the most exciting and dramatic of all semifinals replay ever played in Ghana.

It was a nerve racking match and Kwame Adarkwa’s equaliser with only three minutes to full time which sent the crowd into delirium was the most spectacular goal ever seen in Ghana. The close tally shows that Hearts fought hard to the bitter end, but they lost to a better side.

Below is some extracts from the dailies;

Daily Graphic: “Asante Kotoko are the masters of Accra Hearts of Oak. For three years in succession, they have eliminated Hearts in the Semi – Finals of the National Cup Competition.

” And, yes, Kotoko deserved to win. For, they showed the old glimpses of their finishing power, winning the Semi – Final replay by 6-5 at the Kumasi Sports Stadium yesterday.

“Soccer fans in Kumasi had not seen such a first – class game with abundant thrills and a generous ration of good football for a long time.

” At one stage, Hearts were leading 4-2 and it looked as if they would break the hoodoo. But the Ashanti boys were waiting for the last minute. And when the time came, they just did it..”

The Ghanaian Times called it “a wonderful performance –indeed almost a football miracle.” The paper said: “What a finish. What stamina. What dynamic fighting burst. There never will be a team more dangerous and more prolific in the closing minutes than the pride of Ashanti–Asante Kotoko. Several times this year they have turned seemingly impossible situations into glorious victories.”

The most moving tribute ever paid to a footballer in Ghana was the one paid to Kwame Adarkwa of Kotoko by Mr Kwaku Poku of the Kwame Nkrumah College of Science and Technology, Kumasi, who later studied in Princeton University in the United States.

The tribute appeared in the Ashanti Pioneer of September 28, 1961, headed ‘Hats Off To Kotoko’s Adarkwa.” This is how he put it.

“Adarkwa’s equaliser in the match between Kotoko and Hearts played last Sunday at the Kumasi Sports Stadium was a shot and a half. For a long time to come it will be the talk in many homes throughout Ghana.

“On my part I am glad I was alive that Sunday afternoon to see the shot. Acquah’s bullet shots we have seen and admired; Baba Yara’s sizzling grass – cutters too we have enjoyed seeing. But what we saw Sunday at the Kumasi Sports Stadium, we have never seen the like before and will be lucky to see it again. It was something in a special compartment.

” But let me describe it for you, though I am aware that words cannot describe what fact is indescribable. You should have seen it for yourself to believe it. It was tense moment in the game. The score was 4 – 5 against Kotoko. The time barely four minutes to go. And there was Adarkwa perilously near the goal with his back facing Addoquaye Laryea, and the ball coming down. He daren’t let it bounce otherwise he would lose a fine opportunity.

“There was one of two courses open to him: either to head the ball into the goal with his back still facing the goalkeeper; but that would have required a header as strong as Adu Darku’s to be able to get it past the agile and vigilant Addoquaye Laryea. Or to turn round quickly and boot it in with his right. That too would have given the goalkeeper or the nearest attacker –and there were several of them –the chance to clear the ball. Your lesser player would have done either of these.

” But because Adarkwa is not a lesser player he did the unexpected. He looked at the goal, over his right shoulder, to survey his chances (and I suspect to locate the goalkeeper) and then peddled the ball over his head bang into the goal. It was clear that Addoquaye Laryea knew nothing about the shot.

“It was a cheeky, daring shot, and until the ball went into the net, no one thought it likely. When I saw him attempt it I thought it was a crazy thing to do at the crucial moment of the game. Not that it was a chancy or a streaky shot.

” On the contrary, it was after the ball had found its way into the goal that we realised that it was an amazing feat of artistry, skill and sheer delivery.

“It was one of those rare moments in a game when the man and the occasion meet to produce the unexpected, and by so doing add a new dimension to the game. I am certain that the shot, judged by any standard, in any part of the globe where soccer is understood, would be acclaimed brilliant.

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