Caf Confederation Cup: Asante Kotoko 2-1 Coton Sport (Agg: 5-3): Five things we learnt

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Goal Ghana
Goal highlights some observations from Sunday’s clash between the Ghanaian club and their Cameroonian counterpart in the continental competition

Goals from Maxwell Baakoh and captain Amos Frimpong handed Asante Kotoko a 2-1 home win over Coton Sport Garoua of Cameroon to book a place in the group stage of the Caf Confederation Cup.

Oumarou Sali netted for the away side but his effort was not enough to save The Cottoners from defeat in the playoff round second leg fixture at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi. 
With a 3-2 win in the first leg, Kotoko secured a ticket for the 'money zone' on a 5-3 aggregate.

Below are some observations from the second-leg fixture:

Akonnor the saviour

The former Ghana captain deserves praise for his good work so far. The odds were against him coming into the campaign, more so with Kotoko having been competitively inactive since June last year. One away win, one away draw and two home wins so far is certainly a great job. In guiding the Porcupines to the group stage, he becomes just the fourth coach in the history of the club to do so, the previous berth dating as far back as 2008.

Kotoko getting into rhythm

Kotoko certainly still have a lot of work to do going into the next round. At the moment, though, they look to be gaining confidence and swagger on the journey and that's encouraging. Their performance over two legs against Coton definitely trumps the showing against Kenya's Kariobangi Sharks in the previous round. From the look of things, the Porcupines are gradually overcoming their initial concerns, particularly to do with their long period of inactivity. So many positives to take away from the latest victory. 

Kwame 'Conte' will be influential

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Former Sweden-based midfielder Kwame 'Conte' Bonsu won a lot of admirers when he made his competitive debut for Kotoko in the away fixture. That was after a lot of concerns were raised about the performance of Kotoko's midfield duo in the earlier game against Sharks. On Sunday, Bonsu won even more people due to his fine performance at the centre of the park, alongside the industrious Richard Senanu. In the duo, a fine midfield partnership is blooming.

Fans will always be there for Kotoko

Unofficial figures from Kumasi indicated about 30,000 fans turned up for Sunday's showdown. That should pass for the biggest match gathering at the ground in recent times, even beating the numbers of Ghana's national senior outfit when they last played at the venue (against Congo in a 2018 World Cup qualifier). If there's one thing Kotoko can confidently count on going into the group stage, it is that Kumasi will always show up when it is needed.

But there is a problem - home pressure

Whereas the fans turning up in their numbers is a piece of good news, Kotoko's performance in their two games so far at home indicates that playing in Kumasi may not exactly be all positive. Following a recent away performance to hold Kariobangi Sharks of Kenya to a scoreless draw in the previous round, the Porcupine Warriors put up a less impressive show in the return fixture, only requiring an Amos Frimpong's penalty to win 2-1 at home. Against Coton, there was a similar trend as Kotoko looked better in their 3-2 stunning away win than in Sunday's 2-1 victory on home soil. Disappointments of past years only swell the concern.
 

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