2020/21 Caf CL: Al Hilal beat listless Kotoko in Accra
Asante Kotoko slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Al Hilal in the first leg of their 2002/21 Caf Champions League second preliminary round tie at the Accra Sports Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
Despite beating Dreams 1-0 on Sunday in the Ghana Premier League, the Porcupines proved the gap between their domestic and continental performances in recent years.
There was nothing spectacular from the Reds in a duel needed to put them ahead of the second leg in Omdurman.
Interim head coach Johnson Smith maintained Razak Abalora in goal and replaced Habib Mohammed with Ismail Ganiyi in defence.
From kickoff, it was Al Hilal who proved their quality and strength to get the opener.
Poised not to concede, the Blue Wave left no spaces for Kotoko in midfield and defence.
Their pressing in the central areas forced the home side to commit several mistakes and two of such moments were gifts they failed to utilize.
In the second half, the story was not different. The Porcupines could simply not create any problems for Hilal goalkeeper Abdallah Abu-Eshrein.
Getting a chance in the Hilal 18-yard box was like making an attempt to reach the top of Mount Everest.
Johnson Smith’s first change in the game was supposed to add more bite to the forward line; Osman Ibrahim for Goffred Asiamah in the 69th minute.
That change really changed nothing! I could not count a clear goalscoring opportunity for the Reds and that’s been evident in my report.
A disappointing performance from the Ghanaian giants.
Moving on to the game, Smith then introduced Sulley Muniru for Emmanuel Gyamfi and then Naby Keita for Kwame Poku in the 75th minute.
Still, Kotoko were struggling to create goalscoring chances.
It was rather Hilal coach Zoran Manojlovic’s whose substitution broke the deadlock.
Vinny Bongonga Kombe who replaced Waleed Bakhet Hamid, netted in the 77th minute to give his side the game-winner.
The away side did enough after the equalizer to maintain a vital win heading into the second leg of the clash.
Asante Kotoko will now turn their attention to their Ghana Premier League game against Medeama on December 27th.