Asante Kotoko recorded an unconvincing 2-1 win over Liberian giants Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) in the first leg of their Caf Champions League preliminary stages at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday.
The home-side dominated the first quarter of the game by seizing the midfield where the likes of Issah Yakubu, Prince Baffoe and skipper Jordan Opoku were a delight to watch.
The Porcupine Warriors could have been up by two goals before the hour mark as Baffoe with only the BYC goalkeeper at his mercy after a sublime pass by Opoku shot straight into the hands of the shot-stopper.
Larbi Koomson also found himself in open space but his strike was not strong enough to trouble goalkeeper Alpha.
Seidu Bancey and Isaac Boakye were virtually lost in the game and made little impact as their positioning and timing yielded no positive outcome with the latter’s stamina coming under scrutiny by the fans.
BYC defender Jabateh was adjudged by the referee to have handled the ball in the 18-yard box and penalty expert Kwabena Adusei stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the net to give Kotoko a one nil win in the 40th minute.
The goal was short lived as the Liberians, who have made their intentions known, netted just before the break through a beautifully taken free kick by Isaac Pupo to make the scores even.
Kotoko brought in Aziz Yusif for Boakye and Basiru for Opoku to change their strategy, though the Liberian champions played a well-rehearsed pattern in the second half by trying to defend and surprising the hosts on the counter.
A second penalty was converted by Adusei after an infringement in the vital area to give Kotoko a 2-1 win whilst Bancey missed a glorious opportunity to add to their tally.
The former continental masters piled pressure on BYC but the minnows defended gallantly as the game ended in favour of the Ghana league champions. The Porcupine Warriors are now a step ahead to make it to the next round of the competition.