Asante Kotoko once again breathed life into their 2018/19 Caf Confederation Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory over Nkana FC that lifts them to second place in Group C.
Going into Sunday afternoon’s game at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, the Porcupine Warriors were dangerously bottom of the group against the Zambians who had thrashed them 3-1 the previous match day.
Kotoko knew any further unfavourable result meant their dreams of a quarterfinal berth would be shattered.
And Abdul Fatawu Safiu led the onslaught for the charged Akonnor men with the opening goal as early as the 4th minute. The attacker put Kotoko in control with a clinical free-kick which seemed to have caught Nkana keeper Chibwe in two minds and before he realized he failed to grab the ball at near post.
Kotoko continued to pile pressure on their visitors, creating more scoring chances with Safiu again, Songne Yacouba and Wahab Adams taking turns to spurn them.
But their resilience paid off in the 23rd minute when Emmanuel Gyamfi pounced on a loose ball home after goalkeeper Chibwe blocked a fiery shot from the left by Daniel Darkwah. The winger was however caught late by a Ben Adama tackle after scoring – one which ended his time on the field minutes later.
On 27 minutes, Kotoko stamped their supremacy in the game with their third goal after some great build-up play concluded with Martin Antwi scoring with a sublime free-kick. The winger struck the ball from near the corner line into the far corner of the post, 3-0.
Gyamfi couldn’t continue the game anymore after some treatment on the sidelines and got replaced by Kwame Boahene.
Then Nkana coach Beston Chambeshi also decided to substitute goalkeeper Chiwe, who looked flummoxed by the flurry of goals he was conceding, with Kelvin Malunga as his replacement on the half-hour mark.
Gyamfi’s injury disrupted Asante Kotoko’s play a bit and they were unable to add to their tally with the half ending 3-0 in their favour.
The second half did not produce as much fireworks as the first as both teams were poor in the final third and consequently, the game saw no further goals.
The win is Asante Kotoko’s second in Group C and sees them move to second spot on the standings with six points from four matches while Nkana are third (on the same points but with an inferior head-to-head).
Kotoko next host Al-Hilal who have taken lead of the group (7points) after defeating ZESCO United 3-1 this afternoon. Kotoko vs Al-Hilal is next Sunday, March 10 in Kumasi.