Ghanaian giant, Asante Kotoko held Kenya’s Kariobangi Sharks to a barren draw in the first leg of the CAF Confederations Cup first round at the Kasarani Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Sharks avoided conceding a crucial away goal while Kotoko just but managed to hold their nerves for a draw away from home and will look to capitalize on the result in the return leg. However, Sharks will only need a scoring draw in Kumasi next Saturday to progress to the second round.
Duke Abuya had the game’s opening chance after 13 minutes when his run through the middle saw him cite some shooting space from almost 25 yards out after some little tick-tock movement saw him evade his markers, but his eventual shot was an easy collection for the Kotoko keeper.
Former Karela United defender, Abdul Ganiyu almost scored an own goal after he had turned the ball into his own net as he tried to cut away an incisive through pass from Vincent Wasambo destined for George Abege, but keeper Felix Annan was well positioned to avert any embarrassment.
Kotoko were happy sitting back and controlling possession and didn’t have many scoring opportunities. They could have had one after 19 minutes when Emmanuel Gyamfi made a decent run on the right, his fancy footwork seeing him skip past Nickson Omondi, but his cut back after getting into the box was well defended.
They had another chance in the 36th minute when Maxwel Baako’s freekick from the right was nodded into Martin Antwi’s direction at the edge of the six yard box but his attempt at goal was direct at Brian Bwire in the Sharks goal.
Two minutes on the turn, Kotoko and Ghana national team defender Agyemang Badu was forced to clear the ball off the line after James Mazembe’s effort off a Harrison Mwendwa cross skipped past the keeper.
Three minutes to the break, Antwi had another chance when Gyamfi’s well measured cross off the left landed on his path, but his header was over with no pressure on his back.
The second half was a more balanced affair with minimal scoring chances. The two sides changed personnel, Yacouba Songne coming on for Kotoko for Naby Keita while Sharks brought in Henry Juma for Mazembe.
The Ghanaian side sought to slow down the game at every opportunity, going down on every challenge to eat a few minutes off the clock.
Sharks coach Muluya made more attacking changes, Moses Mwangi coming in for Wasambo to spice up things with a bit of speed.
Kotoko threatened especially through new man Songne, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.
Credit Capital FM, Kenya.