BYC Scare Kotoko

KotokoKumasi Asante Kotoko began their CAF championship tournament with a shaky 2-1 win over the Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) of Liberia in the first leg of the preliminary stage of the competition, played at the Baba Yara Stadium, yesterday.

It was quite an interesting afternoon with five yellow cards, two going for the ‘Red Army’ and three for the Liberians.

Though the Asanteman contingent carried the day, they were far from convincing, making football connoisseurs to deduce they would have a difficult task to accomplish in the return leg in Liberia.

Head coach of the BYC, Robert Lartey, in a post-match conference, sent a signal to Kotoko to really prepare for real battle, as he predicted a total win for his side in the return encounter.

The Liberian lads entered the game with a plan: to frustrate the Porcupine Warriors to perhaps, manage a goalless game, and they nearly succeeded as they seized the midfield and tightened the rear which made Seidu Bancey and veteran Isaac Boakye, from whom much was expected, totally redundant.

Indeed, it was difficult to penetrate the blanket defence of the daring visitors.

Kotoko suffered from poor passes upfront with Prince Baffoe and Issa Yakubu very guilty.

Stubborn as they proved, BYC held Kotoko, until the 40th minute when Alpha James handled the ball in the box for Burkinabe Referee Boukami Ouedrago, to whistle for a spot-kick which was perfectly connected by Kwabena Adusie who was inspirational during the just-ended CHAN tournament in South Africa.

As the ‘Red Army’ rocked to the chants of the home support, BYC responded with a beautiful goal as Isaac Pupo powered a free-kick from just outside the box which completely beat Soulama Abdoulaye in post – in the 42nd minute.

Head Coach Didi Dramani made changes in the second half bringing on Yusif Aziz for Isaac Boakye, Richard Mpong for Prince Baffoe and Osman Basiru for Jordan Opoku – thus increasing the pulse in the second half.

Kotoko poured forward but met a strong resistance from the visitors’ rear centered on Alpha James, Teah Dennis and Lamine Jabateh.

In the 68th minute, Seidu Bancey who, this time was marked by two defenders, ghosted away from his markers and latched onto a pass in the box to come face to face with the goalkeeper.

He managed to mesmerize keeper Nathaniel Sherma but he mowed down for a second spot-kick for Kwabena Adusei to score a brace. From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi

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