Asante Kotoko came from behind to beat Liberty Professionals 2-1 in their opening fixture of the 2016/17 Ghana Premier League on Sunday.
The Porcupine warriors went down in the 35th minute in front of an expectant home crowd at the Baba Yare Sports Stadium after Benjamin Eshun took advantage of a lapse in the backline to strike home.
The visitors dominated play in the first half with Kotoko having difficulty dealing with the Scientific Soccer Lads.
Liberty proved a handful for their hosts as they dominated play in the opening 45 minutes. Just before the half-hour mark Kotoko coach Zdravko Logarusic had been forced to make two quick substitutions due to injuries to captain Amos Frimpong and Obed Owusu. They were replaced by Eric Donkor and Ashitey Ollenu respectively.
An improved second half display saw Kotoko pile pressure until they were rewarded with a seeming soft penalty after referee Timothy Obuobisa adjudged that Emmanuel Gyamfi had been impeded in the Liberty penalty area.
Experienced striker Yakubu Mohammed, a serial penalty converter in the history of the Ghana Premier League stepped up and delivered a powerful drive through the middle to register his debut goal for Asante Kotoko.
Five minutes later, Yakubu grabbed his brace. The Scientific Soccer lads were caught ball watching as Gyamfi whipped in a free-kick. Abeiku Ainooson failed to direct the ball into the net but it found its way to the former Raja Casablanca man who tapped home to give Kotoko a 2-1 lead.
The experience of Ernest Papa Arko counted a lot for Liberty professionals as they always dazzled through Kotoko’s defense but that wasn’t enough to fetch Coach Ignatius Osei Fosu’s side another goal in the league opener.
Kotoko starting XI: Felix Annan, Amos Frimpong, Ahmed Adams, Abeiku Ainooson, Awudu Nafiu, Seth Opare, Prnce Acquah, Kwame Boahene, Emmanuel Gyamfi, Yakubu Mohammed, Obed Owusu.
Subs: Eric Donkor, Jackson Owusu, Edwin Tuffour, Ollenu Ashitey, Baba Mahama, Mohammed Abass, Ernest Sowah.
Liberty starting XI: Fatau Alhassan Dida, Papa Arko (c), Michael Ampadu, Nana Osei Bonsu, Mubarik Yussif, Samuel Sarfo, Simon Zibo, Gerald Arkerson, Taminu Muntari, Issah Shaibu, Benjamin Eshun.
Subs: Prosper Avor, Babamu Addo, Samuel Annan, Emmanuel Sarpong, Bernard Arthur, Brite Andoh, Eric Andoh.
By David Manu Stevenson