But the true hero on the day was goalkeeper Ernest Sowah who saved three of Hearts’ penalty kicks by Inusah Musah, Paul Acquah and Patrick Razak.
Hearts goalkeeper, Silianus Gbeti also saved Eric Donkor’s kick before Samuel Kyere blasted his over the bar, as Emmanuel Osei and Evans Quao both hit the back of the net for Kotoko. It was a similar story last year when Hearts won the President’s Cup via a penalty shootout.
Yesterday, the tables turned as the Hearts faithful looked distraught as they watched Kotoko being decorated with the gold medals by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, who represented the President. Hearts’ Portuguese coach Sergio Traguil was left with no other option but to congratulate his opposite number, Michael Osei, at the end of the match.
The Phobians have themselves to blame for wasting the best scoring opportunities, particularly in the first half. But as early as the third minute of the game, Hearts were forced to defend their lines when Kotoko launched a dangerous attack which led Hearts defender Thomas Abbey clumsily whack down Ahmed Adams in the penalty box for an obvious spot kick.
However, to the dismay of the Kotoko players and supporters, referee Awal Mohammed ignored their appeals for a penalty.
Kotoko mounted pressure on the Phobians and forced them to concede four corner kicks in succession, one of which needed a timely clearance on the goal-line by Owusu Bempah to save his side from going down in the ninth minute.
In a swift response a minute later, Hearts winger Razak burst from the flanks and cut into the Kotoko half before laying a deep cross into the Kotoko goal area but forward Cosmos Dauda was too late to connect home for the opening goal.
Hearts gained confidence and just when the fans were on their feet to celebrate the first goal in the 25th minute, Razak left them disappointed when he shot wide in front of a yawning net after rounding off goalkeeper Sowah.
Coach Traguil’s side struggled to match up to the pace of Kotoko as Frimpong’s first shot on target brought out the best of goalkeeper Gbeti, who scored full marks after stretching to parry the shot to safety. Kotoko dominated the first half as the striking partnership of Dauda Mohammed and Obed Owusu tormented the Hearts backline for the entire first half but failed to score.
The second half saw an improved game from Hearts but they were unable to take the few chances they created.
In the 71st minute, Kotoko’s Mohammed watched in agony as his free kick hit the cross bar before Gbeti stretched to punch away the striker’s goal-bound header.
Similarly, the Hearts fans were left to rue another glorious chance missed in the 82nd minute when Razak saw his effort roll across the goalpost after receiving a through pass from Ashittey Ollenu.