20 June 2019

Ghana: Ashgold, Nzema Kotoko for Finals ... After Beating Kotoko, Unistar in NC Tier 2 Competition

Ashantigold kept alive their dream of representing Ghana in the next edition of the CAF Confederations Cup when they thrashed Ashanti rivals Asante Kotoko 3-1 yesterday at the Accra Sports Stadium in the Normalisation Committee (NC) Tier 2 competition semi finals.

Two goals from Ashantigold forward Shafiu Mumuni and another from Emmanuel Owusu neutralized Naby Keita's lead for the Porcupine Warriors.

Indeed, it was very sad afternoon for the Reds and their followers who had created a party mood at the same venue four days earlier with a penalty shoot-out victory over Hearts of Oak in their NC Tier 1 semi final game.

A win for Kotoko would have seen them contest in the finals of the two competitions but Ashgold needed the win more after their exit from the Tier 1 competition on Sunday by Karela United.

Kotoko was better at the initial stages where they controlled the game and made incursions into the 'Miners' area but did not really trouble them as their movement was restricted around the goal area by the 'Aboakese' defenders.

The 'Miners' who seemed eager to atone for their Tier 1 competition loss appeared more purposeful despite Kotoko's dominance.

Naby Keita gave Kotoko an early lead in the second minute when he reacted quickly to an in-swinger from the right to give his side the lead.

The 'Miners' remained unperturbed and very composed despite conceding the leader.

With Appiah Macarthy as the main architect, Ashgold gained control of proceedings and dictated play in the middle where Kotoko were forced to go on the defensive.

The pressure almost paid off when a quick move from the 'Miners' nearly fetched the equaliser but the situation was dealt with by Kotoko goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim, resulting in a corner kick..

Captain Shafiu headed home for the 'Miners equaliser from the resultant corner from left-back Roland Amouzou.

That gingered Ashgold who grew in confidence and attacked the goal area of their opponents in droves, resulting in a long drive by right-back Emmanuel Mensah which was tipped over the crossbar by Danlad Ibrahim.

With their opponents on the back foot, struggling to find their rhythm, Ashgold seized the opportunity to go ahead in the 36th minute when danger man Emmanuel Owusu pounced on Amouzou's cross.

Back from recess, Kotoko attempted an early route into the game when in the 46th minute; striker Safiw made his way into the Ashantigold 18-yard but his poor control allowed the Ashantigold defenders to clear the danger.

This was quickly followed by an excellent break from Kwame Boahen but the attack was foiled by the stalwart 'Miners' backline.

Shafiu put the game beyond Kotoko in the 64th minute when he headed past Danlad an cross from the right side by substitute Godfred Asiamah.

Kotoko's attempt at a late comeback proved futile as their local rivals stood their ground to make the make the final of the Tier 2 competition.

That clears the stage for an epic final between Ashantigold and Division One League (DOL) side, Nzema Kotoko who ended the fairytale of giant killers, Unistar Academy yesterday.

The Nzema lads recorded a 2-1 win over Unistar Academy yesterday at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium in their semi-final clash to gain qualification to the grand finale.

It was a great comeback for them as the Academy lads snatched the leader on the 26th minute mark when Ali Muftawu fired home the first decent chance of the game.

But exactly three minutes later, Nzema Kotoko pulled the equaliser in an amazing fashion as Francis Atitsogbe controlled beautifully before slotting home from close range.

Luck then smiled on the Nzema representation who was awarded a penalty just on the stroke of the half-time whistle.

It was beautifully converted by Agyenim Boateng.

The second half was full of thrills as the Academy lads, who showed Hearts of Oak the exit, controlled the game and attempted several counter attacks but met a resolute defence.

Winner of the final, scheduled for Wednesday, June 26 will represent Ghana in the CAF Confederation Cup competition.

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