Berekum Chelsea FC retained the President’s Cup by beating Kumasi Asante Kotoko 2-1 at the Accra Sports Stadium to mark Ghana’s Republic Day celebrations.
The Ghana ‘Blues’ ensured they retained the Cup by coming from behind to out-class the Porcupine Warriors in the second half of the match that saw a sizable crowd patronizing the event with the Vice President, John Dramani Mahama as the Special Guest of Honour
He was ably supported by Alhaji Ali Raji, Chairman of GHALCA, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports and Kwesi Nyantakyi, President of the Ghana Football Association as well as other officials.
Last season, Chelsea, then the Premier League champions beat Kotoko 9-8 on penalties at the Accra Sports Stadium to annex the Cup to add to their domestic success.
After Vice President Mahama did the ceremonial kick-off for the commencement of the match, it was Kotoko who showed determination and agility to carry the day as they pressed their opponents to earn the first corner in the 13th minute but the effort was wasted.
With the Porcupine Warriors on an onslaught it came as no surprise when Kofi Nti Boakye out-run the Chelsea defence to deliver a shot from a teasing cross that easily beat Chelsea’s keeper Ernest Sowah for the opener in the 15th minute.
Chelsea gradually warmed themselves into the game but Bismark Idan who had an opportunity to break even hesitated in front goal as he could only lob the ball over the bar.
The uncompromising game saw referee Samuel K. Gyasi flashing yellow cards to Mohamed Musah, Gladson Awako and later Owusu Jackson of Chelsea with Michael Helegbe also getting one for Kotoko as the game was generating into physical exchanges to end the first half with Kotoko on top of proceedings.
When the second half resumed it was Chelsea who quickly showed their determination to carry the day as their changed their game plan and took the ‘fight; into the Kotoko goal area but Idan with a one-on-one advantage after beating Awal Mohammed on the run from a long through ball from his keeper surprisingly shot off target.
The Blues continued to put urgency into their game plan and it came as no surprise when they got the equalizer in the 50th minute from a cheeky back-heel executed by defender Edward Kpodo after a beautiful combination upfront to silence the teeming supporters of Kotoko.
Kotoko earned a free-kick just outside the penalty but Awal Mohammed’s effort was cleared by the vigilant defenders of Chelsea and followed up with a counter attack but keeper Ernest Sowah made a timely save to grab the ball off the boots of Helegbe.
Both teams made series of changes but it was still Chelsea who continued to dominated and went ahead to mesmerize the Kotoko team by making it two from a marauding Awako who took advantage of a set-up to deliver a low grounder to beat keeper Soulama Abdulai in the 79th minute for the match winner that dazzled the Kotoko following.
Kotoko tried to pull even but the Chelsea defence stayed alert as they foiled all the frantic efforts at goal to maintain their lead till the final whistle that saw most of the supporters leaving the stadium before the final whistle to crown an entertaining Republic Day President’s Cup match. GNA