Asante Kotoko registered their first win the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup group stage after claiming a 2-1 win over Zambian side ZESCO United at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
ZESCO manager George Lwandamina was handed reality and taken through the real state of affairs when the Porcupine spirit descend at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium as Kwame Bonsu and Emmanuel Gyamfi consigned his side to a first-half 2-0 drubbing.
Kotoko’s superiority even told in goalkeeping when Felix Annan pulled a monumental save from the penalty spot to deny Kenya Jesse Were in the 20th minute.
Ghanaian forward Rahim Osmanu climbed off the bench to grab a consolation goal for the visitors as Kwame Bonsu excelled in midfield with breathtaking midfield displays.
Kotoko coach Charles Akunnor paraded a strong line up featured wing-wizard Maxwell Baakoh, experienced midfielder Kwame Bonsu and promising defender Emmanuel Agyemang Badu.
The Zambians’ responded by assembling their best players in the line up to face the Porcupine Warriors.
Kick-off was delayed for up to 13 minutes following orders by the center referee to Zesco United keeper Jacob Banda to change his shirt.
Kotoko claimed lion’s share of possession in the early stages of the game and bossed the midfield with former Gefle IF midfielder Kwame Bonsu and Richard Senanu jinxing up the middle while Baakoh and Safiw spread wide.
A defence splitting pass from Baakoh located Burkina Faso striker Songne Yacouba who turned his man inside out before finding Kwame Bonsu and the former Sweden-based midfield maestro planted his effort beyond the visitors keeper.
Emmanuel Gyamfi was one of the Kotoko culprits who spurned a double of chances as they failed to find the target after going close but the exciting winger was to unleash one of his lovely repertoires on the 25th minute as he smashed home a Songne Yacouba sweet ball to increase the tally.
The workaholic striker has now taken his assist tally in the competition to five since debuting for the Porcupine Warriors at the elimination rounds. The forward went round John Chin’Andu at the left wing, and sent a cutback pass to Kwame Bonsu, who finished it off with a deflected shot from inside the box before directly getting involved in the second goal.
The Southern Africans had the opportunity to level things up when they won a penalty but goalkeeper Felix Annan pulled to a magnificent save to deny Jesse Were and preserve Kotoko’s early lead.
Yacouba came close to registering his first goal of the competition but Kenyan international Anthony Akumu placed his soul down to deny his goal-bound effort but the real moment of sweetness was the brilliant pass from goalkeeper Felix Annan who was able to calibrate a long searching pass to locate Yacouba.
ZESCO introduced Ghanaian Rahim Osmanu on the 66th minute mark as they aimed to get something positive from the game. And, the 23-year-old profited from lack of concentration from the Kotoko defence to cut the deficit for the visitors by lobbing the ball over Annan.
Akunnor withdrew Songne Yacouba and introduced Stephen Nyarko in his place while Sunyani-born Habib Mohammed stepped in to place the injured Richard Senanu. The ex-AshantiGold defender by this virtue marked his debut in the competition.
It took a masterful save from Felix Annan to tip a Rahim Osmanu goal-bound effort to keep Kotoko doing in the game.
The goal post denied Kwame Bonsu as his strike rattled the woodwork to deny them an opportunity to restore their 2-goal lead.
35-year-old Zambian midfielder Kondwani Mtonga was sent off in the last minute of normal time.
By El Akyereko
Follow the writer on Twitter: @Akwasiakyereko