Confed Cup dream still on for Kotoko with emphatic Nkana win
Ghana's sole representatives at the ongoing CAF Confederation Cup, Asante Kotoko, recorded their highest home win in the competition by thrashing Zambian side, Nkana FC, 3-0 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, yesterday, to move to the second spot on the league table.
Kotoko recovered from last week's 1-3 loss to the same side to bounce back into contention for a slot in the quarter-finals on six points.
However, Kotoko will have to win their next home match against Sudanese side, Al Hilal, and at least draw against ZESCO in Lusaka, to firmly seal a place among the big boys.
Kotoko turned on the heat early in the game after Abdul Fatawu Safiu set the stadium agog with a fourth minute deceptive free kick to force goalkeeper Allan Chibwe to push the ball into his own net.
Indeed by the 27th minute, Kotoko had sealed victory with goals from Emmanuel Gyamfi and Martin Antwi, making it two and three respectively in the 23rd and 27th minutes as the host team kept the visitors on the back foot for most of the time.
However, winger Gyamfi could not make a return to the pitch after sustaining a foot injury in a tussle for the ball to score.
Kotoko’s victory also came at a cost as another player, Maxwell Baako, who also got injured, has been ruled out for, between 12 weeks to six months, by the medical team.
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Arrowhead, Songne Yacouba, seized the moment and capitalised on the Zambian side inability to settle quickly as he initiated series of attacks.
Twice before the quarter hour mark, Yacouba hit the side net while setting up tantalising opportunities for his teammates to finish off but they were all wasted.
Cheered on by an encouraging crowd, Kotoko simply played above themselves and also built a solid wall in defence to prevent their opponents from scoring.
Coach Charles Akonnor's reshuffle at the rear appeared to have favoured him and inured to the benefit of the entire team.
He dropped his trusted back four with the exception of skipper Amos Frimpong, who was not eligible to play.
In their stead, Adams Wahab, Abdul Ganiu, Daniel Darkwah and Augustine Sefah appeared to solve the communication problem at the rear which hitherto had worked against the team.
Nkana tried to recover on a few occasions, but Kotoko never lost focus as they shrugged off reckless tackles by their opponents to grab all the crucial three points.