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KOTOKO 3 NKANA 0- KEY OBSERVATIONS AS THE PORCUPINES WON AT HOME

History is often viewed as a  gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. Whew! a copy of a 26 year old game was sold at the Babayara Stadium on Sunday, 3rd March, 2019. Asante Kotoko emerged triumphant over Nkana FC with a 3 goal margin. The Kalampa boys sold the Porcupines their worst away game and only a reverse in fate could please the gods of Asante. 

Both sides shuffled their men from the previous encounter with the home side notably making 4. Debut starts were handed to Daniel Darkwah, Wahab Adams and Martin Antwi with Sefa  returning to the team in a bid to beat the Zambian side.


Nkana with their 2 trusted centre backs suspended fell on the young Nyondo to pair experienced Ben Adama in that role with a start for Chisala in the absence of Kelvin Kampbamba. Yet, Kotoko won the game of shuffles with strikes from Fatawu,  Gyamfi and Martin. 

3 goals before the half hour mark ensured that the home side had all 3 points secured. 6 points in 4 games with 2 left to play, the Porcupine Warriors can dream of annexing to the next stage of the cup games. 

What was observed

Injuries 
The sides began the game without two mercurial players. Baako sat out for Kotoko with Nkana also missing Kelvin Kampamba. Baako is reported to have sustained an injury to his shin on the last day of training prior to the game. Kelvin also pulled out with an injury with a day to the game. The two would have sold some flair and speed. Emmanuel Gyamfi did start but after 25 minutes, he got substituted after sustaining an injury which might last for a while. Gyamfi and Baako have 5 goals between them in the competition with Kelvin scoring the Kitwe Reds' first goal in the group stages of the competition. Goodluck to the sidemen.

Forgotten Men
In the reverse fixture, Duncan Otieno and Gift Zulu, two forgotten men proved their relevance for Nkana in Kitwe which saw them start again in the return game. In Kumasi, Kotoko relied on Wahab, Antwi and Darkwah to push their game. Wahab and Darkwah were a force to reckon with in defence with Antwi having a good game upfront. A claim staked for newcomers?

Finishing Games Before Time
It was all about the home side's intensity in the first half which fetched them 3 goals. Full of energy and desire, the hosts took the game to their Zambian counterparts who had no answers. Bonsu was an animated figure in the centre of the pitch with the ever  energetic Yacouba pulling the strings upfront. Well, they finally did by substituting their goalkeeper Chibwe in the 30th minute mark. Kotoko, relaxed in the 2nd period managed just a shot more on goal. 

How they stand after 4 games 
One  to Forget
In a tie for the forgotten men, Chibwe had a tie to forget. Faced with 5 shots on target before his eventual substitution, he conceded 3 dramatic goals. 4 goals conceded in the tie with 3 coming from direct free kicks could see the Zambian international lose the post? The former Power Dynamos safe hands has now conceded 6 goals in his last 3 games in all competitions. Could the numerous calls for him to replace the aged Mweene in the Chipolopolo goalpost come to a halt after the Kumasi disaster? Banda, another contender, conceded 2 for Zesco at the same ground. 

Zero Away 
Nkana FC playing in their first game away from Zambia failed to even get a shot on target. All 6 shots did get nowhere near the goalkeeper. Walter Bwalya , Roland Kampamba and Freddie Tchimenga just lacked any purpose going forward. A hangover from the Kitwe win for the Kalampa boys? Well, Nkana has no goal away from their dreaded Nkana Stadium. 

New Play, New Scoring 
3 spectacular freekick goals were netted by the porcupines in the tie which is a plus for the new coach Akonnor. He is gradually turning the group into one of the best, ball possession wise. His  men have invented a new way to score too aside adapting to the new way of playing.

Felix Clean at Last
For all his abilities to man the goalpost, the Kotoko goalie has been under pressure for his inability to keep a clean sheet in this tourney. On Sunday, with a new centre back pair ahead of him, he barely had anything to deal with but crosses. 1 cleansheet in 4 group games and the fans will hope for some continuity. His reaction to the final whistle tells how he relieved he was to play without conceding. 

Asante Kotoko will next play at home to Al Hilal Omdurman on 10/3/19. Al Hilal beat Kotoko by a lone goal in Sudan and the Porcupines will seek nothing but a revenge with a possibility of a first consecutive win. 
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