How Kotoko failed Eulma test

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Kumasi Asante Kotoko failed to advance to the next stage of the CAF Champions League competition after a 2-1 defeat to MC El Eulma from Algeria at the Baba Yara stadium, on Sunday.

The Asanteman contingent was highly tipped by football connoisseurs to ride over the visitors after holding the North Africans to a goalless draw game in the first leg in Algeria.

But at the end of the duel, a police armoured van had to convey the players out of the stadium after disappointed fans attempted to vent their anger on them for what they perceived as ill-motivated performance.

For about an hour the players were held hostage in the dressing room as the exasperated fans questioned their commitment.

The stadium was ‘painted’ red, and from the onset it seemed good things would happen – as defender Khaled Bouzama went off for Mokhtar Belhkiter through an injury in the 7th minute.

The stadium came alight in the third minute when Micheal Akuffo tested goalkeeper Mohammed Ouserir with a thunderbolt from a 30 meter distance which was followed by a Richard Mpong shot in the 23rd minute.

The atmosphere was deafening when striker Obed Owusu got the opener with five minutes to finish the first half largely through miscommunication between defender Adel Nomane and goalkeeper Mohammed Ouserir who was yellow carded in the 33rd minute for delay tactics.

Adel Nomane gave a back pass to the on-rushing goalkeeper who saw the ball slipped under his feet and as the ball was dangling into the net, Obed Owusu gave a clinical finish to end the half.

At the start of the second half, Kotoko raced into action giving signals to fans of more goals and five minutes into the half, Ahmed Toure hit a pile driver but Ouserir was on hand to save smartly.

The Algerians were getting into the game when coach David Duncan decided to make changes. Emmanuel Asante was replaced with Dauda Mohammed and Frank Sarfo Gyamfi for Richard Mpong.

But, it seemed Kotoko’s defense was not solid as well as the midfield which was completely broken down.

And sure enough, Eulma’s pushing yielded fruit with a fine goal in the 60th minute, courtesy, Waled Darradja who fired the ball from just after the center line.

In fact, the rest of the game was a harrowing experience for the Reds as Eulma players went down at the least tackle.

A great opportunity came Kotoko’s way after 85 minutes when Sarfo Gyamfi broke free but he went down in the opposition territory to make a penalty appeal that was ignored. Sarfo Gyamfi again came close to scoring in 90 minutes but he missed by a whisker to the chagrin of the fans.

Eulma buried the tie in the six minutes additional time. Fares Hemetti beat an offside trap and raced deep into the Kotoko area with Ahmed Toure chasing but the Algerian put the ball at the blind side of goalkeeper Ofori Antwi.

This is the second time the Porcupine Warriors has failed to scale Algerian hurdles in the continental club championship. Last two seasons, Kotoko were eliminated by an Algerian side JSM Bejaia.

From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi

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