KUMASI Asante Kotoko stuttered to another disappointing game, going down 0-1 to Kpando Heart of Lions at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi yesterday.
The defeat, the third in a row, effectively killed off Kotoko’s championship ambition in the MTN GHALCA Top 4 competition.
Once again, the suffering fans walked out of the stadium questioning what was wrong with the team that had seen the infusion of some tried and tested local stars.
For the umpteenth time in the tournament, Kotoko created enough opportunities to have secured them at least a draw but the attack fired blanks much to the chagrin of the expectant home fans.
The home side threw down the gauntlet in the early minutes with Daniel Nii Adjei bursting into the Lions area to force keeper Stephen Ahorlu to push his shot to corner.
Lions obliged them with Abraham Annan creating panic in the Kotoko area on the third minute followed by two quick corner kicks, which went wasted.
By the quarter hour mark the combatants had done a lot of midfield battle with Lions a shade better in that department.
Kokoto’s attacking pair of Gado Mohammed and Edward Affum was receiving the supplies all right from Jordan Opoku and Haruna Ganiyu but the Lions defence where Sherif Danladi and Joseph Jackson featured prominently, held them at bay.
At the opposite end Kotoko were having problems at the defence, giving the ball away in threatening positions.
But Tanko Mohammed and Annan, who were doing most of the attack for Lions were found wanting, while keeper Eric Nii Baah was up to the task saving the shots that went through.
The best opportunity for Kotoko in the first half fell to Nii Adjei, who on meeting a neat pass from Gado, saw his shot going wide from 10 yards out.
From that point Nii Adjei had problems playing his normal game and no wonder that he was substituted in the second half.
Crunchy tackles permeated the game and referee Charles Dowuona booked five players.
Kotoko started the second half more seriously, battling for every ball but again Ahorlu, who had a busy spell, denied them a goal.
Abdul Samad Oppong, whom so much was expected from, was pulled out for Luois Agyemang in the 72nd minute, and five minutes later Kotoko conceded the only goal.
The defence was caught unawares as a throw in found Abraham Annan who located advancing substitute player Daniel Acquaye in space to drive home.