Two-time African champions, Asante Kotoko S/C, put up a spirited performance to record a 2-1 victory over Zambia’s Zesco United in a Confedration of Africa Football (CAF) Confederations Cup group stage clash at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi, on Wednesday.
The Porcupine Warriors, who lost their first match against Sudan’s Al-Hilal, needed a win at all cost to keep their dream on course to qualify to the knock-out stage.
The homers fired from all angles on commencement of the game and took the lead in the eighth minute, courtesy indefatigable midfielder, Kwame Bonsu.
The goal-scorer unleashed a thunderbolt a shot from a Songne Yacouba well-laid pass, which took a deflection of Zesco’s defence to hit the back of the net.
The Zambians responded swiftly with some brilliant counter-attacks and nearly profited from their efforts in the 15th minute, but Simon Silwimba’s threatening pass across Kotoko’s goal line would go waste.
Jesse Jackson Were, who was expected to lead Zesco’s onslaught, was a pale shadow of himself in most parts of the game and it came as no surprise when he missed from the spot-kick in the 18th minute.
This was after Kotoko’s Abdul Ganiyu fouled one of the visitors’ attackers in the 18-yard box.
Kotoko, having survived this scare opened up the game to score their second goal in the 24th minute through speedster Emmanuel Gyamfi.
The visitors brought on Enoch Sabumukam for Clement Mwape in the 34th minute, however, this would not change the complexion of the game as the homers defended their lead gallantly to end the first half.
Zesco introduced Rahim Osmanu into the game in the 64th minute, replacing a tired-looking Were, and the visitors began to attack Kotoko at this stage, missing some decent chances within the spate of four minutes.
The Zambians managed to score a consolation goal in the 71st minute, and it was Osmanu who soared above the Kotoko defencemen to nod home an aerial pass.
The Ghanaian giants lived dangerously in the closing stages of the match, and in spite of a red card being shown to Zesco’s Kondwani Mtonga, the visitors would continue to press in an attempt to fetch the equalizer until the match ended.