Kotoko for the first time failed to record victory at home in this year’s CAF Confederation Cup after playing out a 1-1 stalemate with Sudanese Club Al Hilal.
Ghanasportsonline.com reporter Frank Darkwah brings you a low down on how players of Kotoko fared in the game.
He could have dealt with Hilal’s goal however you would give him the benefit of the doubt as his defenders did not help matters by leaving Waleed Hamid unmarked. Annan rescued Kotoko from going two goals down when he saved Waleed’s effort to deny the visitors a second. He was at his usual best on the day.
The captain was returning into the starting line-up after missing the last game against Nkana through suspension, replacing Augustine Sefa at right-back. Was not in his best in the first half but came to light in the second half and joint the attack. He supported Emmanuel Gyamfi on the right which enabled the latter to exploit the left side of the Hilal defense.
Not the best of games for the left-back who maintained his position in the team after a wonderful display against Nkana. Darkwah was quiet on the day and hardly surged forward which eventually forced Martin Antwi to track back on countless occasions to help defend. The former Aduana Stars man was however substituted by Stephen Nyarko late in the game.
Noted for his “no nonsense” displays at the back. The center-back nearly found the back of the net in the first half when his header went just wide. He provided a lot of support to Emmanuel Agyemang Badu in central defense. Maintained his composure throughout the game despite facing some few difficult moments from the Al Hilal attackers.
Could be partly blamed for the goal his side conceded after leaving Waleed Hamid unmarked. Badu nevertheless stood to his grounds at the back and made some timely tackles and clearances. Coach CK Akonnor paired the highly-rated center-back with Wahab Adams for the first time.
Umar Bashiru also had a tough afternoon. He struggled to break down the Hilal midfield and was always found wanting anytime his opponents were with the ball, however came to the party in the second half of the game after few changes was made by Coach CK Akonnor.
KWAME BONSO -5
He was not in his usual element, was unable to string his passes together and easily lost the second balls in midfield. He had to make way in the cause of the game for Daniel Nii Adjei.
Missed Kotoko’s biggest opportunity in the first half when he failed to get a simple tap in from close range. He was however Kotoko’s brightest spot on the day as he caused lots of problems for the Hilal defense, switching play from left-to-right. Gyamfi was however denied what looked like a penalty after he was pulled down in the box, shortly after assisted Kotoko’s equalizer after sending in a cross to Songne Yacouba to pull parity late in the game.
Was not a happy man after getting substituted just on the stroke of half-time. Antwi was sacrificed late in the first half despite putting up a decent performance. The former WAFA and Inter Allies man was replaced by Obed Owusu in what looked purely a tactical change on the part of Coach CK Akonnor who needed to add some urgency into attack and provide Yacouba with more support.
ABDUL FATAWU SAFIU-6.5
Twice he was denied by the post in the second half after a quiet first half. The forward first unleashed a powerful free kick which came off the upright. He was again left cursing his stars when his kick came off the post for the second time in the game. Fatawu as usual provided lots of support to Yacouba up front.
Clearly he was checked by the Al Hilal defenders who gave him no room to operate but got Kotoko’s much-needed equalizer deep inside the game when he headed home a cross from Emmanuel Gyamfi to register his second goal in the competition. He however got himself booked for an unsporting behavior towards a Hilal player having initially missed an opportunity in the first half.
His introduction in the first half looked to have spiced up the Kotoko attack. Known for his work rate, Owusu’s presence freed Yacouba from the Al Hilal defenders which gave the latter room to operate.
DANIEL NII AGYEI-4
Nii Agyei came on to replace Kwame Bonso but made minimal impact in the game. The experienced midfielder could hardly match the strength of the Al Hilal midfielders who looked very physical.
He was also a late introduction and helped strengthen the Kotoko midfield but could also not make a significant impact due to his late introduction.
By Frank Darkwah