Caf Confederation Cup: Asante Kotoko 1-1 Al Hilal: Porcupines Warriors held in Kumasi

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Goal Ghana
CK Akonnor's outfit missed an opportunity to grab a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday after sharing the spoils with the Sudanese club

Needing a win to secure qualification for the Caf Confederation Cup quarter-finals, Asante Kotoko's hopes of playing in the last eight suffered a setback on Sunday following a 1-1 home draw with Al Hilal Omdurman on the penultimate matchday of the group stage.

Waleed Bakhet Hamid's first-half goal put the visitors ahead at Kumasi's Baba Yara Sports Stadium before Songne Yacouba levelled the score four minutes to full-time in the matchday five fixture.

The result has left the Porcupine Warriors third in Group C, two points behind leaders Nkana FC, who beat Zesco United 3-0 in the other group game on Sunday in an all-Zambia affair. Hilal sit second with eight points, one mark ahead of Kotoko.

The Nkana-Zesco result, well confirmed before kick-off in Kumasi, meant Charles 'CK' Akonnor's boy only needed three points at home to seal a place in the last eight.

Now, the Porcupine Warriors must beat Zesco on the final matchday to pick one of two qualification tickets to the next round.

Despite two new faces coming into Akonnor's line-up, the biggest talking point was the presence of winger Emmanuel Gyamfi, who, having picked up an injury in last week's 3-0 win over Nkana and shortly ruled out of the Hilal fixture, made a sensational return to training on Friday to play himself into contention for a spot against the Sudanese.

Elsewhere, captain Amos Frimpong, who missed the Nkana triumph due to suspension, replaced Augustine Sefah at right-back, while Emmanuel Agyemang Badu took the place of the injured Ismail Abdul Ganiyu at centre-back.

Hilal coach Nabil Kouki, on the other hand, kept faith with the same side that beat Zesco 3-1 in their last game.

After a few half-chances, the first real scoring opportunity of the game fell to Kotoko in the 12th minute when after a neat work down the right by Gyamfi, Safiu Abdul Fatawu whipped a low shot across the face of goal, the effort unable to find a final connection.

A minute later at the other end, Mohamed Eldai forced goalkeeper Felix Annan into a diving save with a shot from outside the box.

Hilal, calm and composed in possession, and without in any way looking like a side on travel, broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when an unmarked Waleed Bakhet Hamid sent a header past Annan into the net.

In the 37th minutes, Kotoko almost drew level when Songne Yacouba lifted a ball just over the bar following a miscommunication between goalkeeper Jamal Salim and defender Omer Hassan.

There was an even bigger chance for Kotoko in the 40th minute when Gyamfi, needing to simply tap Yacouba's cross into the net from about four yards, sent his strike over the bar.

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On the hour-mark, the home side came close once again. This time around, Fatawu's long-range free-kick struck the crossbar. He would repeat the act five minutes later.

After Gyamfi and Umar Basiru failed to find the back of the net on separate occasions, Hilal almost made it 2-0 in the 70th minute as Hamid, played through on goal on a counter-attack, saw his shot saved by the agile Annan.

Four minutes to full-time, Kotoko finally found a way past Salim as Yacouba's header beat the goalkeeper to make it 1-1 after Gyamfi delivered a cross into the box. 
 

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