It is the biggest fixture in Ghana’s football calendar on Sunday when arch rivals Asante Kotoko SC and Hearts of Oak are pit together at the Baba Yara stadium.
This is the fifth meeting of the season. The Porcupine Warriors have been winners in only one of the previous four clashes with the Phobians claiming the other victories.
A win for either side will keep them in the title race.
The two coaches Steven George Polack and Frank Elliott Nuttall are take on each other for the second time but first in the premier league as bragging rights beckons .
The former won the first encounter.
Here are the five key battles that could determine the outcome of the crucial game.
Emmanuel Gyamfi vs. Kassenu Ghandy
This is probably one of the duels that will lighten up the game this weekend.
Emmanuel has had a flourishing season with some delightful displays in many of the games he has played. He was in his best elements when they lost 1-0 in the first to Hearts of Oak.
The Asante Kotoko SC winger has provided four assists and created two penalties for his side already this campaign.
Ghandy is probably not one of the best left backs this season in the premiership but is very productive and played key role in the few games he has played.
He will be very busy on Sunday if he is to stop Emmanuel Gyamfi from causing problems on the flanks.
Going forward, he has also been used as a left wing back in some of the games he coach chooses to play the back three system. He is likely to start on Sunday.
Leonard Tawiah vs. Baba Mahama
If Baba Mahama is given a start at Asante Kotoko SC on Sunday then we are rest assured of a fascinating encounter in the midfield between him and the improved Leonard Tawiah.
The Hearts of Oak midfielder has been a rock solid since he earned a starting berth in the team.
He had a brilliant game against Majeed Ashimeru when Hearts of Oak beat WAFA SC 2-0 in the first round and will hope to shackle Baba Mahama in a similar way.
He will be key in the game this weekend.
In the last ten matches, Baba has been the best performer in the Porcupines set up scoring three goals and setting up one other.
His dazzling moves and dribbles will play key role should the hosts overcome their bitterest rivals.
Thomas Abbey vs. Amos Frimpong
This is going to be very interesting since two captains will be involved in a battle in Sunday’s crunchy duel.
Player of month of July, Thomas Abbey is among the few players the spotlight is on this weekend.
He scored four goals in three matches to win monthly award.
A lot will depend on the most influential person in the Hearts of Oak squad this term if they are to beat Asante Kotoko SC.
He has been involved in sixteen goals in the season with twelve goals and four assists to his credit.
It is very obvious the skipper of the Red family, Amos Frimpong will tasked to deal with the threat of the winger on Sunday.
Despite having an injury hit campaign, the still remains one of the best right backs in the Ghana premier league. He has recently been called to the Black Stars B.
He will need to double do his defensive duties, surging runs and same time put checks on Thomas.
Eric Donkor vs. Patrick Razak
This battle promises to be another intriguing moments of the highly anticipated fixture on Sunday.
Eric Donkor is not having the best of seasons due to his rollercoaster performances. If has been full of ups and downs for the left back.
If named in the starting lineup of Asante Kotoko SC, he will be the one to mark out speedster Patrick Razak which requires a step up in his recent performances.
Fans have lots of hope in him as they believe he is the man for the big and crucial moments in a game, Razak is a specialist winger with a good understanding of his position, quick feet and a work-rate to match.
His second half appearance gave the Phobians a penalty in the MTN FA Cup through which they scored to progress to the semifinals last Sunday.
Winful Kwaku Cobbinah vs. Seth Opare
Another big figure in the Hearts of Oak and arguably one of the best players in the premier league this campaign is Winful.
He comes with experience and a scintillating form ahead of the weekend’s top clash. It is expected he will repeat his delightful displays against Asante Kotoko SC.
Cobbinah was preserved last Sunday specifically for this match. He has seven assists so far and two goals.
All of the goals were from free-kicks.
For Asante Kotoko SC to clinch victory on Sunday, this wonderful man must be overpowered in the midfield and the chap to do this job is Seth Opare.
After poor start to his stint at the Porcupines, the defensive midfielder has regained his form, winning most of the fans’ heart.
Some of the fans call him the “maestro” due to his recent performances.
By Nuhu Adams
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