Kumasi Asante Kotoko relentlessly fought hard to grab a 2-1 win over Kariobangi Sharks in the first round of the CAF Confederation Cup at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Saturday to book a ticket for the playoff phase.
Goals from Abdul Fatawu Shafiwu and skipper Amos Frimpong gave the Porcupine Warriors the all-important win over the Sharks in a game impregnated with suspense and several moments of uneasiness.
442gh.com takes a look at the performance of the players of Kumasi Asante Kotoko and how they fared against the Kenyan side at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Each player’s performance is rated out of 10 based on his total contribution to the game, his role per position, the number of minutes played and how influential he was to Kotoko’s win.
Felix Annan (GK) – 7
Annan as usual had a wonderful game for the Porcupine Warriors and made some brilliant saves. He was forced to respond on some few occasions in the first half but was on duty for almost all the second half. Many felt he could have simply parried away Patillah Omoto’s shot that gave Kariobangi the equalizer but decided to go for a grab. Annan’s moment of brilliance came when he wonderfully jumped like a cat to saved a Kariobangi free kick with five minutes to end the game. That free kick, if scored, would have won the day for the visitors. His defensive organization was good and had great communication with his back four. His amazing ball distribution technique was a plus.
2. Augustine Sefa – 8
One player whose work rate was so excellent on Saturday was Augustine Sefa. He was great in his defensive position. Despite not surging forward on several occasions as he used to do, Sefa defended well. His diminutive stature was a disadvantage but the right back never showed signs of given up. He was like a Spartan on the day.
3. Amos Frimpong – 9
For the first time in many games, Amos played like a leader. He fought, tackled and tirelessly defended like a wounded lion. His core responsibility was excellently executed. He displayed a man-of the match performance to aid Asante Kotoko earn the vital win. For a player who played in a position he’s not so comfortable with to show such an amazing work rate, he was 442gh.com’s player of the match.
4. Abdul Ganiu – 8
He’s fit in so well in the Asante Kotoko set up and no wonder Coach Akunnor described his back line as their strength. Ganiu was not just amazing but had a great game as usual. Despite the goliath-like structure of Kariobangi Sharks striker Abege, Ganiu neutralized him in both halves. His aerial ability was supersonic and he stupendously outjumped the Ugandan anytime the ball was floated in the air. He gave the Sharks striker a wonderful police service throughout the 90 minutes. His contribution was excellent.
5. Agyemang Badu – 7
Badu was great on the day. His partnership with Ganiu has gradually metamorphosed into a cemented solid igneous rock. His confidence is as amazing as his ball distribution technique. His aerial ability was admirable too but he over elaborated on some occasions which nearly cost the Porcupine Warriors. His overconfidence could be a demerit.
6. Richard Senanu – 6
Senanu is a great player but he needs to work a lot on his confidence. His passing ability is amazing and has great intelligence on the ball. His Iniesta-like play makes him a dangerous passer of the ball as all his passes turn to be dangerous for the opponent. On the day, he was great but his inability to be surging forward with the ball must be worked on. He loves running to his defenders with the ball for cover instead of moving forward. He was very poor in winning the balls from the opponents.
7. Maxwell Baako – 8
Messi has always been his name and clearly he showed it on Saturday. He was a thorn in the flesh of the Kariobangi Sharks defenders and the plan was to kick him out but he was resolute. He received more kicks from the visitors more than any other in the game. His crosses were on point and so were his dribbles and take-ons.
8. Jordan Opoku – 7
Experience they say is the best teacher and Jordan showed it on Saturday. His calmness in midfield, coupled with his deep sense of timing was very meritorious for Kotoko. He, however, lacked the strength to fight to win balls. He had a good game though.
9. Songne Yacouba – 6
Yacouba was policed for the entire duration of the game and had to, on several occasions, fall deep from attack to pick supplies himself. His technique and intelligence earned Kotoko the penalty which was scored by Amos. He hardly got a shot on target as he was under surveillance. His performance wasn’t a Yacouba-like show but that’s understandable because he’s just making his full return for the first time after staging a return from the sidelines.
10. Abdul Fatawu Shafiwu – 9
Many people wondered why Akunnor decided to start Shafiwu when he didn’t even travel with the team for the first leg in Kenya but his relentless effort that earned Kotoko the opener and his swashbuckling performance throughout the game exonerated CK. Shafiwu was not only productive upfront, he was also amazing in defending. His high pressing anytime he lost the ball was a huge plus for the Porcupine Warriors. He was one of the few players on the day who could emerge the player of the game. Shafiwu was amazing.
11. Emmanuel Gyamfi – 8
Gyamfi was not just amazing but stupendous. He was one of the reasons the Kenyan side could not use their flanks effectively. His runs on the lines forced them to stay back and his crosses were great. To add to his amazing work rate was how he dropped deep into defending anytime Kotoko lost possession. It was not surprising to see him last the entire duration of the game.
Kwame Boahene – 3
Kwame came on for Maxwell Baako but could not exert a lot of influence on the game as many expected. He played well, though was not seen attacking the Sharks as has been his key feature.
Abdul Bashiru Omar – 2
It was hard to fathom why he came on but reason could be ascribed that CK wanted to strengthen his midfield after holding on to the lead after the 70th minute. But Bashiru could hardly nitch a pass. His clearances were as poor as his tackles.
Naby Keita – 2
A usual super-sub for Kotoko, for the first time failed. He was lethargic in his moves and lost possession easily. He hardly posed a threat to the Kariobangi side.