A spirited second half display by Asante Kotoko was not enough as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Libyan giants in their first of two pre-season friendlies on Wednesday afternoon.
Head coach David Duncan put forward his best arsenals in the starting list with lanky youngster Richmond Opoku Manu handed his first major start for the porcupine warriors at left-back.
In the first half, the Kotoko defense struggled to keep up with Al-Ittihad’s attacking style of play and were caught out in the 17th minute when M. Tarhouni finished of a counterattack move from the left to record the game’s opening goal.
After the half-hour mark, Ittihad were awarded a penalty after captain Amos Frimpong was penalised for a foul in the 18-yard. Kotoko’s two centre-backs, Osei Agyemang and Ahmed Adams had collided in an attempt to clear the ball but Frimpong’s ensuing tackle to deny a goal bound Ittihad forward was awarded as an infringement. Abdelmouin Khamaj stepped up and converted the penalty to make it 2-0 for the hosts.
Kotoko turned on their game in the second half and soon reaped the fruits of their impressive display as Obed Owusu pulled one goal back. Coach Duncan’s lads however failed to find the back of the net further with the game ending at 2-1.
Kotoko will return to face the same side in another clash at the Tripoli Stadium on Friday. Kick-off is set at 14:00 GMT.
Kotoko XI: Felix Annan – Amos Frimpong ©, Richard Osei Agyemang, Ahmed Adams, Richmond Opoku Manu – Theophilus Nyame, Jackson Owusu, Frank Sarfo Gyamfi, Eric Donkor – Obed Owusu, Dauda Mohammed
Subs: Kaisan Yuisu, Stephen Oduro, Akwasi Nti, Amos Ako-Ese, Isaac Agyenim Boateng
Below are some shots from the match: