Asante Kotoko trainer, Charles Kwablan Akonnor has admitted that his charges struggled to beat Kenya’s Kariobangi Sharks 2-1 in their 2018/19 Caf Confederation Cup Round-of-32 second leg clash Saturday afternoon.
According to the coach, his side was not compact in midfield and would therefore need to improve their performance at that department ahead of the final qualifying round.
Having secured a barren draw in the first leg in Nairobi, Kotoko started brightly on the day as they made various incursions into their opponent’s side.
Abdul Fatawu Safiu opened the scoring with a sublime finish in the 16th minute but Sharks’ skipper Patillah Omutiti unleashed a thunderbolt outside Kotoko’s penalty box to put his side level.
However, Kotoko restored their lead with some few minutes to end the first half through the spot. Yacouba was brought down in the box and captain Amos Frimpong expectedly scored to hand Kotoko the advantage.
“We were not too exciting today, I must admit,” Akonnor said at post-match. “The opponent really did well. We struggled a bit and were not compact enough in the midfield.
“Umar Basiru gave us the stability we needed when he came in. We were leading at that time and so the idea was to contain the pressure and if the opportunity comes for us to score, we score.
“It’s a problem that we need to work on. If we are able to strengthen the team from within and improve the way we play from the middle, I think it will solve a lot of problems for us.”
“Thank God we have somebody like Umar. Anytime he comes in, he is able to stabilize things for us and I think we need that stability. Whether he will start or not, there is a competition. There is also Kwame Bonsu, who is working so hard to be in the team. We look forward to seeing everybody progress.”
The Porcupine Warriors advanced on a 2-1 aggregate. They next meet one of the teams that will drop form the Champions League first round. Kotoko will know their opponents when a draw is held on Friday, December 28.
By Daniel Osei