The Porcupine Warriors, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, revived their Total CAF Confederation Cup Competition campaign with an inspiring first half performance to defeat Zambian side Nkana FC 3-0 at the Baba Yara Stadium, yesterday.
Kotoko, lost 1-3 to the visitors in the first leg encounter in Zambia a week ago, and faced a nervy ‘win or bust’ situation against the Zambians.
But, for the first time in the competition, Kotoko recorded three goals and kept a clean sheet at home; producing all the goals in the first half with a stunning performance.
The Zambians, leading Group C with six points, were expected to exploit their characteristics: solid defence, counter-attacking and their physique and pace but they proved a pale shadow of the side that thrashed Kotoko in the previous encounter, especially in the first half of the game.
Their talisman and Captain, Walter Bwalya, was played out of the game by the Reds’ rearguard pivoted around Wahab Adams.
Four minutes into the game, the stadium came alive with the opener from a free kick outside the box by Abdul Fatau Safiu.
That brought out the ‘devils’ in the Asanteman contingent who surged forward in droves with Emmanuel Gyamfi firing the second goal in the 23rd minute.
Gyamfi stretched to nod home a rebound from an Nkana clearance to double the verdict.
In the process, he was caught by a defender in an attempt to make a clearance, ending his role on the afternoon as Coack C.K Akonnor was forced to make the first substitution afterwards.
Kotoko then grew in confidence and dominated the game as Abdul Fatau Safui, Kwame Bonsu and Umar Basiru bossed the midfield and created a decent number of chances which they failed to bury.Four minutes later, Martin Antwi fired a drive from a free kick to increase the tally.
The Zambians, at this point had to change their goalkeeper, Allan Chibwe, who appeared to have been overawed by the atmosphere at the stadium and Kotoko’s constant rampage. He was replaced by Kelvin Malunga.
Nkana found their rhythm after resumption with Freddy Tshimenga, Roland Kampamba and Walter Bwalya pumping heat into the game while Ben Adama marshaled the defence to thwart all the efforts of Kotoko’s forwards.
As fatigue set in the game of the hosts, the Zambians attempted to gain a measure of control but Kotoko remained composed and make a few incursions into Nkana area but lacked the numbers upfront to cause a major damage.
Kotoko’s next game will be against Al Hilal which leads the group with seven points ahead of Kotoko’s six in second.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI