Late penalty saves day for Kotoko

Sports

Ghana’s Asante Kotoko Monday struggled to beat visiting FC San Pedro of Cote d’Ivoire by a solitary goal to nil to keep alive their hope of qualifying for the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup at the Baba Yara Stadium on Monday.

The goal came in injury time through a penalty kick which was expertly converted by Naby Keita Laye after Sogne Yacouba was fouled in the penalty box by the skipper of the Ivorian side, Kouassi N’Goran.

Monday’s game, which was the second half of last Sunday’s first leg which was stopped because of the rain, kicked off at 2 p.m. to avoid another rain forecast later in the day.

Aware of the arduous task ahead of them going into the second leg without a goal, the Kotoko lads piled pressure on the defence of San Pedro but their goalie, Ira Tape, was always up to the task to deny Kotoko any chance of scoring.

At a point, the Kotoko players became frustrated and were not able to direct their shots on target.

The tension-filled match saw the two teams give a good account of themselves, with the Ivorian side thwarting all the efforts of their Ghanaian counterparts.

At a point, it was difficult to indicate which team was actually playing at home as the Ivorians did not feel intimidated but took the game to the Porcupine Warriors.

The defence of the two teams had a hectic day as they were called to duty throughout the game.

The visitors, who were determined to end the match in a draw, resorted to time-wasting strategies but later got enraged when referee Eugene Mdluli played six minutes added time.

It was during the injury time that the only goal of the afternoon came, and after the referee had whistled for the end of the match, he had to literally run for his life as the Ivorian players attempted to assault him.

The heavy security personnel on duty at the stadium had to swiftly move to the pitch to calm down tempers as the technical team and playing body of San Pedro were seen arguing with the match officials.

In the ensuing melee, the Public Relations Officer of Kotoko, Kennedy Boakye Ansah, was assaulted on the pitch.

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