Kumasi — Kumasi Asante Kotoko beat Etoile Sportive du Sahel 2-0 in a first leg match of the CAF Champions League competition at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, yesterday.
The victory, however, leaves the Porcupine Warriors with a daunting task in the return encounter in Tunisia in two weeks time, judging from the performance of the North Africans.
It was a match that saw referee Hasan Corneh not being economical with his cards, as he flashed five yellow cards, one to the hosts and the rest to the visitors, for the least protest made against his decision.
The Porcupine Warriors started the game on the front foot as they searched for an early goal.
And, indeed, it yielded results in the third minute when a beautiful free kick by Augustine Okrah from outside the box, zoomed into the net.
A sensational cross from Jordan Opoku picked out the run of George Abege through a forest of players but he was mowed down outside the box; and referee Hasan Corneh did not hesitate to whistle for an infringement in spite of protests by the visitors.
Okrah slot home for a thunderous applause from the teeming fans.
Sahel accepted the challenge, slowed down the game with interpositional passes amid the usual North African delay tactics of falling down at the least touch.
Augustine Okrah was pushed through from the left but he could only send his efforts flicking over the bar in the 30th minute, and six minutes later, he sent a pile-driver that was pushed to corner by keeper Bdiri Makrem.
The second half was quite entertaining with the 'Reds' pressing for goals and came as little surprise when Richard Arthur beat an offside trap and netted the second in the 55th minute.
That saw the Tunisians coming more into the game with Ariri Karim and Lamar Hamza pumping the heat but could not finish upfront.
Coach Zachariassen brought on Songne Yacouba for Richard Arthur and Kelvin Andoh for Emmanuel Gyamfi to fortify the attacking machinery.
In the 84th minute, Kotoko's George Abege wasted a last minute chance by deciding to go for goal from a crowded area instead of passing to Yacouba who was alone.