It might be one of the most anticipated and keenly contested fixtures in a Ghana Premier League season, but there are few things more predictable than the outcome of an Asante Kotoko visit to face Aduana Stars.
They say ‘it’s the hope that kills you’, and it’s surprising that Kotoko aren’t already dead and buried, given how bad their record in Dormaa is: Aduana have been in the top-flight for just over a decade now, but Kotoko have had exactly zero wins there.
They hardly score there, either. Kotoko’s only goal as Aduana’s guests, in fact, came two years ago in the Special Competition that was organised to fill the gap left by the Premier League’s temporary absence.
Scored by deputy captain Emmanuel Gyamfi, it earned the Porcupine Warriors a draw, a result which equalled the biggest reward Kotoko have ever received for a day’s work at the Nana Agyemang Badu I Park.
The last meeting was quite eventful, but for all the wrong reasons, as both teams infamously chose to start the game with just ten players each, only introducing their respective 11th men after recess. Aduana won it, anyway, courtesy of a late Samuel Bioh goal.
Bioh, clearly, has Kotoko’s number, having also come up with the match-winner in this season’s first-round game between the teams. Should Aduana beat Kotoko on Saturday, when the pair engage once more, it would be the first time either side does the double over the other.
Aduana are usually formidable at home — they haven’t lost there in the league for how many years now? — but Kotoko’s presence, it seems, elevates them into the realms of invincibility.
Kotoko can’t afford to drop points, however, given how tight the title race has now become. Mariano Barreto’s side lost their top spot after the previous matchday, following a draw with WAFA, to archrivals Accra Hearts of Oak.
The two giants are currently tied on 46 points apiece, with the likes of Accra Great Olympics, Medeama and Karela United within touching distance, and Kotoko would be determined not to lose further ground. They’ll need more than determination to succeed, though, considering their history away to Aduana.
Could they, perhaps, summon some of the might with which they shattered Karela’s own home invincibility only few months ago?