Asante Kotoko fought back from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw against fierce rivals Hearts of Oak on their return to the field after the tragedy that struck them on July 12.

The Porcupine Warriors put up a spirited performance to claim a point from the highly competitive clash played at the Baba Yara stadium on Sunday.

Kotoko coach Steven Polack and assistant Godwin Ablordey who underwent surgery following the bus accident were passed fit to be on the sideline.

The first half was balanced with not too many chances created by both teams. Sadick Adams was the first to strike at goal and it drew a brave save from Ben Mensah in the 5th minute.

Kotoko sustained the pressure till the half hour mark as Hearts took with enterprising winger Patrick Razak leading the line and rightly so he created the first real chance for the Phobians which nearly resulted in a goal.

Both teams had penalty appeals waved away by referee Dailly Gaba, who saw nothing wrong with challenges on Patrick Razak and Saddick Adams.

Kotoko started the second half better than Hearts with Baba Mahama, Saddick Adams and Emmanuel Gyamfi all testing goalie Ben Mensah.

But against the run of play, Kwame Kizito gave Hearts the lead on 60 minutes with a fine strike on target after he was put through beautifully by Fatau Mohammed.

Kotoko tried to provide answers after going down. They won two corners in succession but Mensah was equal to the task, producing great stops to deny the Porcupines.

Kotoko continued to ask the question and Hearts answered. Steven Polack realized his side were running out of options and responded by bringing on striker Yakubu Mohammed and Sarfo Gyamfi.

Their inclusion added more urgency to Kotoko set up. The attack become more purposeful and it was one of those that resulted in a penalty in the 79th minute.

Amos Frimpong’s strike on target was adjudged to have hit the hand of Leonard Tawiah. But Saddick Adams equalised with a great effort from the spot with less than 15 minutes remaining.  He dedicated his goal to the memory of late equipment officer, George Asare.

The goal propelled Kotoko to pile on incessant pressure and Hearts were lucky to escape with a point as Saddick Adams, in last minute of added time, missed the match winner for Kotoko as he failed to find the net from a close range effort.