Hearts of Oak vs Ashanti Gold: Three Key Battles to look out for at the Accra Sports Stadium Featured
05 Feb

Hearts of Oak vs Ashanti Gold: Three Key Battles to look out for at the Accra Sports Stadium

Expectations ahead of Ashanti Gold SC’s trip to Accra on Thursday are high. There is an assumption that there will be goals, relentless attacking football on both sides and a disregard for defending. That has characterised this fixture in the club’s recent meetings.
 
There is, however, a possibility that Thursday’s fixture might be a more tactical affair. It is unlikely that the game will not be aesthetically pleasing; given the nature of the two teams, but it is a tie that could be decided on fine margins.
 
With that in mind, here are three key battles that could decide Thursday evening’s clash.
 
Mubarik Yussif v Kofi Kordzi
 
A rock at the heart of the Miners’ defence, Mubarik Yussif has scored two goals this term, but it will be his defensive abilities that will come under the spotlight on Thursday, and he will have the small matter of keeping Hearts’ centre forward Kofi Kordzi quiet.
 
Kordzi may not reach the goal-scoring heights of Joseph Esso or get the plaudits Richard Attah gets since his arrival, but the burly forward offers so much to the Hearts attacking trio, and his work-rate and ability to assist Messrs Esso and Afriyie has launched him into being one of the best central strikers in the division. 
 
He is often seen drifting off defenders to receive the ball, but that allows space for Esso and Afriyie to push forward, and that is certainly something Yussif has to be mindful of.
 
Latif Anabila v Benjamin Afutu
 
To stand a chance of beating Ashanti Gold, a team must prevent them from enjoying complete control of the ball in midfield.
 
Anabila is crucial to Ashgold’s game plan. The intelligent midfielder repeatedly recycles possession and is often the man leading his side's press, pursuing his opponents relentlessly until the ball is back at his feet.
 
It will be Benjamin Afutu's job to stop Anabila dominating the midfield areas. It is imperative that the former Karela FC man consistently retains possession and ensures that Anabila does not have the time and space to feed his more offensive teammates.
 
What happens in midfield could, ultimately, be what decides the tie.
 
Joseph Esso v Kwadwo Amoako
 
Just as the threat of Shafiu Mumuni will be concerning Hearts of Oak, the form of Joseph Esso will be a worry for Ashanti Gold.
 
The Black Stars B forward was excellent again on Sunday, emphatically leading Edward Odoom’s charges as they triumphed over Dreams FC at Dawu.
 
He will likely come up against Ashanti Gold right back Kwadwo Amoako on Thursday, a battle of talented players but one in which Esso might have the edge.
 
Kwadwo Amoako has impressed this season and earned the trust of the Ashanti Gold faithful. But keeping Esso at bay could be his toughest test of the season.
 
Who emerges the better of the two could depend on which of them is able to handle the occasion.
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