Kotoko exit Champions League

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Asante Kotoko's first foray in Africa's top club competition in four seasons came to a crashing end in the first round stage after their failure to advance past JSM Bejaia on Sunday in Kumasi.

The Porcupine Warriors could only draw 1-1 with the Algerian debutants before an expectant home crowd at the Baba Yara Stadium.

Mas-Ud ‘Didi’ Dramani's side thus exit the CAF Champions League via the away goal rule after drawing the goalless in the first leg.

The Porcupine Warriors who cruised into the first round with an 8-0 aggregate thrashing of Sony Ela Nguema were expected to ride over their opponents but the story was the other way round.

A first half injury time lead by Michael Akuffo from a free-kick seemed to have given Kotoko a good boost going into the break.

But Bejaia returned a better side and managed to snatch the equalizer in the 73rd minute through Mohammed Derrag.

It was all that the visitors needed as they frustrated Kotoko until the final whistle was sounded.

The defeat reduces Kotoko's title ambitions from three to two.

They will now have to mount a challenge for the domestic Premier League title they won last season and also battle for the FA Cup.

However, their exit, which will deny them any hopes of reaching the lucrative money zone of the competition will pile the pressure on Dramani.