Goal.com Ghana’s Joshua Ansah takes to the drawing board to diagnose this weekend’s Caf Champions League game between the Blues and the Red Devils
By Joshua Ansah
Berekum Chelsea drew with six-time African champions Al Ahly at home in the group stages of the 2012 Caf Champions League and Goal.com Ghana takes a look at five things we learned from the game.
|THE Al AHLY LOSS WAS ONLY A BLIP
Berekum Chelsea came into this game on the back of a humbling 4-1 defeat to Al Ahly in Cairo and many pundits believed that the loss will herald the end of the Blues’ dream run into the group stages of the competition. Many also taught it had exposed the side’s weaknesses, but the same Red Devil side – this time with their star men Mohammed Aboutrika and Ahmed Fathy - met a relatively complete different team in Accra.
The performance and result seems to imply that the shambolic performance in Cairo was only an exception far from becoming the truth most expected it to be.
|BEREKUM CHELSEA CAN COMPETE IN AFRICA
It may sound a mundane point considering the fact that the Blues only managed a draw and have been doing very well to get to this stage, but the significance of the game was that as pointed out above, it proved the loss to the Red Devils had been a bug and not a case of the over achieving underdogs finally exposed. The sort of performance Chelsea put up after that walloping in Cairo really proves they can rub shoulders with the big boys on the continent.
|AWAKO AND ASANTE COULD TEAR THE BEST TEAMS APART
Solomon Asante was a thorn in the flesh of the Egyptians all game twisting, turning and gliding past defenders at will. The midfielder was not for a minute fazed by the size of the north African giants and showed remarkable strength on the ball for a man his size. A midfield pairing of him and Gladson Awako could very much thrive with a solid defensive midfield behind them and could very well have the potential to pick the locks on any defence in the tournament.
|ADAMS COULD SOLVE CHELSEA’S LEAKY MIDFIELD
Centre-back Ahmed Adams may very well be the answer to Berekum Chelsea’s leaky midfield which has also come under some stick in the tournament. Both Abdul Basit and Moro have not managed to really do the role justice when called upon with Adams implying in an interview the midfielders were not tackling enough forcing him into midfield which in turn created gaps at the back for the opposition to exploit.
A position as a sweeper in a three-man central defence for Adams could well patch up Chelsea’s leaky midfield as he was also at the heart of many moves initiated with precise passing after the tackle.
|CHELSEA DEPEND TOO MUCH ON STAR MAN CLOTTEY
All the talk before the game was centered on star man Emmanuel Clottey, who would have equaled the record for most goals scored in a single Champions League campaign if he had scored. This seemed to translate onto the field as the players looked to find him at every given opportunity sometimes at the detriment of a better option highlighted by Idan’s decision to look for Clottey, despite the fact he was sandwiched between two defenders when Jordan Opoku was free and the chance was wasted.
Chelsea failed to utilise effectively Ahly’s obsession with the 24-year-old allowing the Red Devils to completely cut the striker out of the game. Opoku’s goal showed completely what Chelsea could have done with that as he was allowed space and time to shoot - a luxury Clottey was never afforded.