Asante Kotoko were hold to a slim 1-0 victory at their own backyard by San Pedro last Monday at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium. The Ghanaian side is known for their rampant scoring spree at their favorite Baba Yara where they have comfortably see off Nkana FC, Etoile du Sahel and Kano Pillars in recent times.
But against San Pedro in the first leg of the Confederation Cup play-off, It took Naby Kieta’s last kick, in a penalty fashion, to save the two times African Cup of Champions Clubs from being held to a goalless draw at Baba Yara.
Many supporters of the 83 African Cup of Champions Clubs champions have already lost hopes as their team prepare for the return leg in Abidjan. But club CEO Mr. George Amoako believe good preparations are the only opportunity Kotoko can eliminate San Pedro in the return leg.
In an interview with Angle FM sports, when asked whether his side have any opportunity to qualify ahead of the Ivorian side, Mr. Amoako said, “Everything (the game) went well for San Pedro but God willing we (Kotoko) got 1-0 win against Pedro”.
“The team now have the opportunity to get their selves back and prepare very well for the second leg. “But we will try and get good score line in Abidjan”, he added.
Hitting on preparations before his club return to the Felix Foupheout Boigny for the second leg tie this weekend against San Pedro could be seen as a point of expressing his dissatisfaction over Kotoko’s poor performance in the first leg.
But there is one big explanation to his side’s under performance in the first leg at Baba Yara. The Stadium experienced a heavy rain fall before and during the game which water-logged the pitch, and led to the cancellation of the game on Sunday.
Not only did both clubs, especially for Kotoko, who are known for their ever-enticing entertaining football at home in CAF games over the years failed to keep the ball on the turf, but players also struggled to accommodate the weather condition on the day.
In as much it’s accepted that Sunday’s weather was a poor condition for football which affect any side on any day, Kotoko CEO George Amoako solely believes the weather affected his team more than it did to the San Pedro side in Kumasi.
“I must say the weather affected our style of play, we couldn’t organize our brand of football, so that is why we didn’t score more goals, the weather favored San Pedro”, said Mr. Amoako.
“I believe the players play not according to the instructions of our technical team, they ballooned the ball in the air.
‘That suit San Pedro very well because they were taller and stronger” he added.
Kotoko recorded similar score line against CARA Brazzaville in 2017-2018 CAF Confederation Cup first round and lost 7-6 on penalties in the return leg in Brazzaville.
Kotoko missed three consecutive penalties before converting the fourth penalty through former Ash Gold forward Yakubu Mohammed at Baba Yara.
Zachariassen’s men can draw on experience gained from previous record when Hearts of Oak beat Etoile du Sahel 1-0 2006 in Accra Sports Stadium in the first leg and still qualified on penalties to the next round of the Champions League after suffering one nil defeat in 90 minutes.