Ghana’s Kumasi Asante Kotoko recorded a 3-0 win over Zambian side Nkana FC in the CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday afternoon at the Baba Sports Stadium in Kumasi.
midfielder Abdul Fatawu Safiu raced C K Akonnor’s side into a 4th minute lead before Emmanuel Gyamfi doubled the lead on the 22nd minute mark.
Martin Antwi conjured a magic when he bent home a corner kick to complete an amazing first-half for the Red-jerseyed lads in a charged atmosphere at the 40,000 capacity stadium.
Defender Daniel Darkwah and Kwame Bonsu emerged top performers on the afternoon as they overly impressed.
Kotoko coach Charles Akonnor handed debut starts to Abdul Wahab and Daniel Darkwah who took the place of Emmanuel Agyemang Badu and the suspended Amos Frimpong respectively.
Midfield steamroller Maxwell Baakoh had to drop out of the squad due to injury with Martin Antwi taking over his place on the wings. And, with Senanu still out, Umar Bashiru partnered Kwame Bonsu Conteh in central midfield in a 4-3-2-1 system deployed by the German-trained Akonnor.
Kotoko went into the game seeking to overturn a 3-1 deficit against the 12-time Zambian Premier League title-winners from Kitwe and lift themselves off the foot of the Group C chart.
The Porcupine Warriors sparked into gear early in the game as early pressure resulted in a free-kick. Auxiliary striker Abdul Fatawu Safiw crashed into the near post from a free kick at the edge of the penalty box to register the opener on the 5th minute mark. The former Portland Timbers second team player registered his third goal of the competition with the strike.
Kotoko double their advantage in the 21st minute when Daniel Darkwah broke free with a silky move and set up Emmanuel Gyamfi who buried home. Goalkeeper Allan Chibwe pelted Daniel Darkwah shot and allowed Emmanuel Gyamfi to hit into the empty amid a stiff challenge from three opponent players.
The Porcupine Warriors increased their advantage moments later when Martin Antwi curled home a corner kick to peter home the third.
Emmanuel Gyamfi, who scored the second goal picked up a knock and was replaced by Kwame Boahene on the 28th minute mark.
Nkana replaced their goalkeeper after the corner went in.
Kotoko created a handful of chances before half-time but we’re unable to increase the tally.
After the break, Nkana went in search of a consolation goal but the determination of the Kotoko defence not to concede yielded as they prevailed in the second stanza.
KOTOKO PLAYER RATINGS:
He led the team in the absence of captain Amos Frimpong who was serving a suspension. Annan was virtually on a holiday as he barely made any crucial save due to the compact defensive line. He was always on the alert at any dangerous move from his opponents.
The right-back as usual did what was needed by giving out a decent performance. Having missed the game in Kitwe. The diminutive defender regain his position and gave a good account of himself.
Darkwah was only making his first appearance for the Club in this year’s CAF Confederation Cup. The former Aduana Stars left-back returned to the Kotoko team after a lengthy injury. He exploited the left side with some delightful display and assisted the second goal with a fine cross into the Nkana goal area which eventually gave Gyamfi an opportunity to find the back of the net.
The former Aduana Stars center-back came in to replace Agyemang Badu. Adams despite looking jittery on few occasions will keep the Nkana attackers out with some good clearances.
The big man in the Kotoko defense making all the needed interventions on the day. His partnership with Wahab Adams seemed to have worked on the day as he perfectly covered his co-center back.
The ex-WAFA star is gradually proving his worth in the team in the absence of injured Richard Senanu. Umar was inspiring in the middle of the field with his wonderful touches and sleek passes, moving into spaces to win all second balls.
He again lived up to expectation and was a difficult nut to crack for the Nkana midfielders. Bossed the midfield as usual and linked play from defense to attack. He was undoubtedly the best player in the Kotoko team.
Scored Kotoko’s second goal but his day will be cut short after sustaining an injury in the process. He was ultimately replaced by Kwame Boahene in the first half.
Scored a goal which could go down as a contender for the goal of the week. The former WAFA captain sent the stadium into raptures after delivering a wonderful free kick from an unfamiliar position.
ABDUL FATAWU SAFIU-7
Fatawu set the pace for the Reds scoring from a free kick early in the game. He provided lots of support for Yacouba upfront.
He was in his usual element tormenting the Nkana defense, causing trouble for his marker Ben Adama Bahn. He nearly got on the score sheet when his well-executed free kick was punched away by Nkana goalkeeper Mosunda.
Came on to replace Emmanuel Gyamfi who suffered an injury in the first half. Boahene did not disappoint when he came on.
Nyarko came on to replace second goal scorer Martin Antwi in a bid to tighten Kotoko’s midfield. He however made little impact