Asante Kotoko coach Charles 'CK' Akonnor has expressed disappointment following his team's elimination from the Caf Confederation Cup, attributing their woes to the slack of their defence.
The Porcupines' hopes of making the quarter-finals were dashed on Sunday following a 2-1 away defeat to Zesco United of Zambia on the final matchday of the group stage.
The result left the Ghanaians third in Group C, one place below the pass mark.
“It’s a match that we wanted to win so badly because of the situation we found ourselves in," Akonnor said at the post-match conference.
"Zesco had nothing to lose - [were] without any pressure.
“We wanted to get into the quarter-finals and it meant so much for us but we didn’t play very well as we’ve been doing."
It was Kotoko who drew first blood on Sunday as substitute Stephen Nyarko scored just a minute after the break to make it 1-0.
The hosts, however, scored in quick succession in the 54th and 56th minutes to claim all three points on offer at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
“The goals we conceded since we started this campaign have been a major problem and it has affected us," Akonnor lamented.
"Honestly, we’ve lost bitterly but I must say I’m proud of the boys from the time we started this - it’s been a difficult journey.
“Today is the end of the journey and hopefully, we’ll learn from this campaign and come back stronger."
Last season, Kotoko exited the Confederation Cup in the preliminary round. Their last group stage berth prior to this season's campaign was in 2008.