Kumasi Asante Kotoko gave themselves a huge boost towards a last eight place after a 3-0 win over Zambia's Nkana in their Group C Day Four clash Sunday in Kumasi.
Following a 3-1 loss from the reverse in Kitwe last week, the 'Porcupine Warriors' made a couple of changes to the team introducing some new faces into the squad in the quest for victory.
With their vociferous fans behind them in full support with their songs and chants, Kotoko started the game on the front foot pinning the visitors in their own half with the likes of Kwame Bonsu and Abdul Fatawu Safiu dictating the pace.
And it came as little surprise when Safiu got the first goal as early as the fifth minute through a freekick which goalkeeper Allan Chibwe failed to stop despite getting the direction.
Incensed by their teeming fans, Kotoko continued to pile more pressure on the struggling visitors Nkana thereby winning series of free kicks in the process.
One soon became two as Emmanuel Gyamfi latched on to a Yacouba Songne shot to tap home the second goal in the 23rd minute.
But that was his last action of the game as he injured himself in the process and signaled to the bench to the substituted almost immediately without even celebrating the goal. He was then replaced by Kwame Boahene.
Just when Nkana were looking to find their feet, Kotoko struck with the third goal through, Martin Antwi whose free kick beat everyone including the Chibwe on 27 minutes.
Sensing danger, Nkana coach Beston Chambeshi quickly replaced goalkeeper Chibwe for Kelvin Malunga in the 30th minute as he varied his tactics.
The second half was a different story as Nkana controlled the game, but failed to find the back of the net for even a consolation till proceedings ended.
The win pushes Kotoko to six points tied on Nkana, one shy of leaders El Hilal of Sudan who beat Zesco of Zambia 3-1 in the other group C clash in Omdurman.
Charles Akonnor (Head Coach, Asante Kotoko)
It was a tough game irrespective of the 3-0 scoreline. Nkana gave us a very good game, especially in the second half. We are looking to improve match after match and so far we have managed to win all our home games and that is a good sign. Six points now and second on the table is not a bad result going into our game next week against Hilal at home.
The players did well by keeping clean sheet today and I am happy that we are improving, at least at that aspect of our game and we are scoring too.
Beston Chambeshi (Head Coach, Nkana)
The Kotoko we saw in Kitwe is not different from what we saw here in Kumasi. I admit we had a very bad first 30 minutes and we made too many silly mistakes that Kotoko capitalized on and scored three goals within that time. But I am happy that after my half time talks, we managed to hold Kotoko and pinned them to their half mostly in the game. That is good plus we are taking back into our next game against ZESCO United next week.