A 40th minute strike by Waleed Bakhiek Hamid of Al Hilal was all that the Sudanese club needed to turn the table against Kumasi Asante Kotoko in their opening Group C CAF Confederation Cup match played at the Omdurman Stadium in Khartoum yesterday.
Kotoko approached the match with determination, hoping to gain at least a point, and, therefore, succeeded in holding their opponents in the early part of the game with good display and short passes.
They, however, failed to take advantage of the few opportunities that came their way.
The game became balanced midway in the match, with each team making incursions into each other’s territory.
With the home fans urging them on, Al Hilal took possession of the game at the latter part of the first half, and in the 40th minute, Hamid brought the fans to their feet with a header to break the deadlock
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The 20-year-old striker, who became the hero of his team, connected a beautiful header from Nasr El Din Shigel’s free kick to nod the ball past goalkeeper Felix Annan for the only goal that turned out to be the match winner.
Moments later, Kotoko should have drawn level, but Abdul Fatawu Safiu who was presented with the opportunity saw his efforts bouncing off the crossbar to the detriment of the few Kotoko fans who were yelling for the much-needed equaliser.
The second half saw both teams attacking each other in droves, hoping to find the net, but it was the Porcupine Warriors who had much possession, but failed to create the chances to turn their effort into goals.
Kotoko return to base in Kumasi to play host to Zambian side ZESCO United at the Baba Yara Stadium on February 13.