Two first half goals by Kwame Bonsu and Emmanuel Gyamfi enabled Kumasi Asante Kotoko to secure a vital 2-1 home win against Zesco United in their CAF Confederation Cup group game played at the Baba Yara Stadium on Wednesday.
Despite the win, the home side survived a scare late into the game as the Zambians fought hard in search of an equaliser but it took the heroics of goalkeeper Felix Annan to deny the visiting side a point.
Kotoko began the match on a good note dominating game and connecting beautifully as they took the lead just nine minutes into the game through Kwame Bonsu, who was set up by teammate Songne Yacouba before firing a ground shot which deflected off a Zedsco defender into the net for the opening goal.
Zesco were offered an opportunity to draw level after earning a penalty in the 23rd minute but goalkeeper Annan parried away Jesse Jackson’s shot much to the admiration of the teeming supporters at the stadium.
In the 25th minute, Yacouba was again in the thick of affairs for the Porcupine Warriors when he set up Gyamfi to score.
A minute to recess, Burkinabe star Yacouba was gifted a chance to score but he shot into goalkeeper Jacob Banda’s arm.
The Zambian side took the game to Kotoko midway into the second half in search of a goal and their efforts were rewarded in the 73rd minute when Kotoko’s centre-back miscalculated a through ball and allowed Zesco’s Ghanaian forward, Rahim Osumanu, to ghost past them to kick the ball above onrushing Annan to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
Annan put up a man-of-the-match performance to keep the Zambians at bay, including pulling off a point-blank save to parry away substitute Osumanu’s goal-bound header in the 85th minute.
Kotoko kept pressing ahead for another goal late into the game and came close to scoring in the 88th minute but Bonsu was denied a personal brace when his header came off the side post.
Zesco ended the match with 10 men when Moroccan referee Noureddine El Jaafari sent off Kondwani Mtonga for deliberately stepping on Kotoko’s Stephen Nyarko.