Caf Champions League: Unflinching Asante Kotoko coach Smith reacts to Al Hilal defeat 

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The Porcupine Warriors boss reflects on the disappointing outcome of their first round first leg fixture in Accra 

Asante Kotoko interim head coach Johnson Smith believes the club's qualification hopes for the Caf Champions League second round remains alive despite falling to Al Hilal of Sudan in a first round first leg fixture on Wednesday.

The Porcupine Warriors ambitions suffered a home setback as Vinny Bongonga netted in the 70th minute to give visiting Hilal a 1-0 triumph at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Kumasi-based Kotoko moved to adopt Accra for their home matches this season due to ongoing renovation works at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.

"We are psyching the boys after yesterday’s defeat. There are more games to come.The next game is the most important," Smith told West Gold Radio.

"We struggle in games at the Accra Sports Stadium.

"The Al Hilal side is matured and very disciplined. I believe we will get a positive result and qualify in Omdurman."

To qualify for the next round, Kotoko must beat Hilal away when the two clubs meet for the return leg in the first week of the New Year.

The Ghanaians won the last of their Champions League titles in 1983.

"Asante Kotoko are disappointing. They lack quality and no creativity," former Ghana goalkeeper Abukari Damba told GTV Sports Plus on Kotoko's performance on Wednesday. 

"I was surprised with the statistics at the end of the game but it is difficult to say but this Kotoko team has a long a way to go.

"They are disappointing and if they will continue like this, it will be a disaster.

"They can go away and win there also but its very difficult at the moment.

"They will have to play with more hunger and commitment in Omdurman.

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"It's not an impossible task for Kotoko but they will have to work hard."

Kotoko, who beat Nouadhibou of Mauritania in the preliminary round of the Champions League, have set their sights on progressing to the second round and ultimately to the group stage which they last reached in 2006.

Last season, the Porcupine Warriors' quest ended early as they were bundled out of the competition in the first round by Tunisia club Etoile Sahel. 

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