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CAF CC: 5 TALKING POINTS AS KOTOKO DEFEAT ZESCO

Asante Kotoko bagged the maximum points with a marginal victory over emerging Zambian powerhouse, Zesco United. The Fabulous lads made amends for their lost away to Al Hilal in their first group game in the Total CAF Confederations Cup. 2-1, the homesters won. 

Managers of both sides paraded their key men with United playing with Kambole and Were with Banda returning to the post after missing the derby win over Nkana FC.

Kotoko's new signing, Habib Mohammed started from the bench with Yacouba, Gyamfi and Baako starting in an unchanged side for the "must-win" game. 


A blistering start to the game saw the home side score two quick goals courtesy strikes from Kwame Bonsu and Emmanuel Gyamfi. The Reds controlled the half with goalkeeper Felix Annan saving Jese Were's spot kick. 

After the interval, the away side looked more composed on the ball and eventually grabbed a goal. Striker Rahim Ousmanu took advantage of some bad defensive play by the home side to score what ended as a consolation goal. Rahim, a Ghanaian, replaced a silent Were. 

Here we highlight five (5) things we observed;

1. No Show for Countryman and Akrobreto
TV sports show host, Countryman Songo has a relationship with the Kumasi fans, thus he always takes to the tartan tracks to spark some cheers prior to most games. His acts get most fans into a frenzy even before the players come out to commence the game. On Wednesday, he was stopped from doing the normal together with Ace actor, Akrobeto. The duo were halted in their tracks by the match commissioner. This was booed by the fans but........... 

2. Banda lost from the start 
The Chipolopolo shot stopper captained the Ndola based side and had no hand in both goals conceded. After the toss, he delayed the start of the game because he had to change his outfit. Upon his return a ball was ballooned into his net which was greeted with screams of 'goal' by the home fans. The stopper was then tasked to pick the ball from the post for the game to kick start. Strangely, he wouldn't. His fright was brought to bear and two quick goals suffered before the half hour told his story. For all his good stops and game reading, his fear was his undoing. 

3. 'Conte' caps excellent display with goal 
The former Gefle IF midfielder found the back of the net after some great work by Yacouba to tee him up. He was strong in his tackles with an excellent range of passing. Kwame Bonsu is gradually finding his mojo back. The central midfielder is living a dream. 


4. The Fabulous 4 
In his quest to find the right combination of players for his 'Agoroball', Kotoko's Coach Akonnor has came under a lot of scrutiny. From friendly games to competitive games, the gaffer had rotated his attacking arsenals until he settled on this quartet; Gyamfi, Baako, Safiu and Yacouba. Today, Yacouba grabbed a brace of assists with Emmanuel Gyamfi connecting one of them. The Faboulous four have scored 6 of Kotoko's goals in the competition (67%). Baako, Safiu and Gyamfi have all scored 2 goals each in the competition with Yacouba recording 5 assists thought he is yet to score. Can they lead the Royal Reds to the ultimate? They have been involved in all of the 9 goals the club has scored thus far. 

5. Felix Annan = Ter Stegen
Felix Annan once more exhibited his shot stopping skills. He saved a penalty kick from Jesse Were to keep the home side's lead. He produced another stunner when he reacted to parry Ousmane's goal bound header to safety. That could have been a late second goal and equaliser for the Zambians. 
But like Barcelona's Ter Stegen, he concedes regardless of the many super saves he makes in a game. Annan has kept a single clean sheet in 6 games in the competition so far.

The group is set for a crunchy next round of games as all four clubs are tied on 3 points. Kotoko and Al Hilal travel to play Nkana FC and Zesco United respectively in the next round of games on 24th February.
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