Despite Asante Kotoko clinching their first win of the season Friday evening, gritting out a 1-0 win over Legon Cities in their match-week five Ghana Premier League (GPL) game at the Accra Stadium, a lack of creativity and poor finishing highlighted their performance.
Kotoko were not the only culprits of the finishing hoodoo; the ‘Royals’ equally fumbled great opportunities to level.
But with a continental assignment against Sudanese giants Al-Hilal beckoning, Kotoko coach Maxwell Konadu admitted in post-match that his side needed to improve their goal-scoring fortunes whilst concurrently praising their ability to score in all games so far.
The win moved Kotoko to sixth on the league log with five points and two outstanding games against Medeama and Olympics, while Cities languished at 15th position on the log – spelling out the arduous task that confronts new trainer Bashiru Hayford who handled his second game.
Playing their second home game of the season, Kotoko searched for an early goal to unsettle their opponents and nearly registered the opener two minutes into the game but striking pair Kwame Poku and Osman Ibrahim struggled to connect to Patrick Asmah cross.
Kotoko’s quest for an early lead paid off in the 10th minute when striker Osman Ibrahim caught the Royal defence sleeping when he reacted first to a low cross whipped into the Cities penalty area by Godfred Asiamah after he picked the ball from Emmanuel Gyamfi’s corner.
After the goal, the game descended into a physical affair that lasted until the final whistle, forcing Kotoko into two early substitutions that saw the withdrawal of midfielders Emmanuel Keyekeh and Adom Frimpong after they sustained injuries in the first-half.
This weakened Kotoko’s dominance in midfield and allowed Cities who were struggling to discover their rhythm. The trio of Jonas Attuquaye, David Cudjoe and Baba Mahama emerged from their shells enabling Cities to squeeze an opportunity out before the break but with only Kotoko
goalie Kwame Baah at his mercy, striker Raphael Ocloo shot feebly.
After recess, Cities nearly leveled early on with Ocloo again the guilty party after he blasted wide at the end of a dangerous team move.
Things turned from bad to worse for the former Elmina Sharks striker in the 57th minute when he shot wide after a rebound fell unto his path with Baah beaten.
Cities’ Coach Hayford replaced him with Ghanaian legend Asamoah Gyan who failed to make an impact amidst heavy policing by Kotoko rear guards, Habib Mohammed and Abdul Ganiyu.
With seven minutes left on the clock, Kotoko captain Emmanuel Gyamfi failed to increase his side’s tally after a brilliant run saw him one-on-one with Cities goalie Fatau Dauda who saved his poor strike.
This was after the Porcupines had wasted a trove of free-kicks and set-pieces awarded in dangerous spots that were poorly converted by Sulley Muniru, Patrick Asmah and Emmanuel Gyamfi.
Source: The Ghanaian Times
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