Kumasi Asante Kotoko secured a vital advantage in their Confederation Cup campaign after beating Coton Sport 3-2 in their playoff match in the northern Camerounian city of Garoua yesterday.
Goals from Emmanuel Gyamfi, Maxwell Baakoh and Fatawu Safiu ensured Coach Charles Akonnor’s men enhanced their chances of progressing to the next stage of the competition.
With just eight minutes into the game, Gyamfi broke the deadlock when he latched on to Abdul Fatawu Safiu's through pass to go one-on-one with the Coton Sport goalkeeper, Sabirou Bassa-Djeri, before slotting the ball into the net.
The goal came after Songne Yacouba and Abdul Fatawu Safiu had taken turns to miss scoring chances from close range.
Kotoko maintained their determination after the goal and continue to dominate the exchanges by creating some descent chances and dictating the pace.
Their persistence paid off in the 30th minute, when Kotoko doubled their lead through a stunning effort by Max Baakoh.
The winger hit the ball into bottom right corner of the net after meandering through the Coton Sport defence to silence the partisan crowd at the stadium.
But it did not take long for the fans to find their voices back after Dauda Kamilo pulled one back for the host through a spot kick.
Morrocan referee Samir Guezzaz's was quick to award a penalty to the host after Baakoh involved in a dangerous tackle on his Coton Sport opponent in the box.
However, by the 50th minute Safiu restored the two-goal lead when he intercepted a pass from the Coton Sport goalkeeper, and curled the ball into the far post to restore Kotoko’s two goal advantage.
Cotton Sport came back strongly and in the 71st minute, Guerma Araina against reduced the deficit with a half volley that beat Felix Annan in post for Kotoko.
Coach Charles Kwablan Akonnor told asantekotokosc.com after the game that he was proud with the achievement of his players.
"I knew it wasn't going to be easy.
Coton Sport is a great side, but we had a plan and I am so glad that my players carried through the plan perfectly”.
Kotoko will welcome Coton Sport in Kumasi for the second leg encounter next weekend.