Kotoko overcome Zesco scare

Kotoko's Maxwell Baakoh (in red) shields the ball away from his Zesco United marker

Kotoko’s Maxwell Baakoh (in red) shields the ball away from his Zesco United marker

Kumasi Asante Kotoko survived a Zesco United FC of Zambia scare to record a narrow 2-1 victory in their Total CAF Confederation Cup competition, at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, yesterday.

It was match day two and Kotoko’s first home match in the league stage of the competition and had tagged the game ‘kill or be killed’ after they lost 0-1 to Al Hilal of Sudan on match day one, a forth night ago in Sudan.

Zesco led the group after a 2-0 victory over compatriots, Nkana FC in the first game and had approached yesterday’s game full of confidence.

The match took off with Kotoko dominating the exchanges and set the stadium ablaze when Kwame Bonsu opened the scoring in the ninth minute.
Agyeman Badu sent a long pass to Songne Yacouba but the ball deflected onto the path of Bonsu to coolly connect.

A minute on, Yacouba had the brightest chance of the afternoon with an empty net to increase the tally after Abdul Fatau Safui mesmerized  on-rushing keeper Jacob Banda laid a good pass to Yacouba.

But to the surprise of everybody, he fired off target much to the chagrin and of the fans.

The visitors accepted the challenge and pushed men forward and nearly got the equalizer but Lazarous Kambole saw his header sailed over the bar in the 12th minute.

That marked the beginning of Kotoko’s scary moment of the game.

On the 19th minute mark, Quadri Aladeokun was brought down in the goal area, giving the referee the easiest task of pointing to the spot to award the visitors a penalty kick.

Luck, however, smiled on the Porcupine Warriors as Jesse Jackson Were’s spot kick was saved by goal keeper Felix Annan to a thunderous applause.

That gingered the red army who surged forward in droves with Emmanuel Gyamfi securing the second goal after he ghosted past his markers in the 25th minute.

Songne Yacouba, played his heart out but failed to find his scoring boot as he blown away an opportunity to extend Kotoko’s leaf just a minute into the second half.

After missing the penalty, Jesse Jackson Were went close to making amends five minutes when he had a glaring chance to reduce the tally for his side but fired over the bar.
Songne Yacouba again had two clear chances but how he managed to squander them in the 66th and 70th minute marks left their fans in doubt over how far the club can go.

And when the tide turned in favour of Zesco, substitute Rahim Osumanu reduced the tally in the 71st minute as he capitalised on a defensive blunder to nod home their only goal.

That gingered the Zambians to dictate the pace of the game with long passes but it was Kotoko that nearly find the net again when Emmanuel Agyeman Badu’s goal bound header hit the post in the 88th minute.

Disaster hit the Zambians in the 89th minute following a matching off order to Kodwani Mtonga for a dangerous tackle on substitute Stephen Nyarko.

That numerical advantage gave the host the edge and kept possession, knowing how close they were to amassing the maximum points to revive their campaign.

Kotoko will travel to Zambia to face Nkana FC in their next game to be played in a fortnight.

FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI

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