4 things we learned as Andoh and Gyamfi breach Pillars of Kano Featured
26 Aug

4 things we learned as Andoh and Gyamfi breach Pillars of Kano

It was all joy at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi immediately Beninois referee, Djindo Louis blew the final whistle to end hostilities.

The Porcupine Warriors were 2-0 victors against a resilient Kano Pillars side and had book a place in the final round of the CAF Champions League preliminary stage.
 
Some of the fans couldn’t help it but cry as if they’ve lost their mothers- others were seen dancing to some songs piped around in the arena. Fans back home were not left out of the jubilations- the city was sent into raptures. 
 
There was absolute joy and jollity in the city. Men were seen with their cherubic wives and girlfriends clad in the adorable colours of Asante Kotko merrying on the streets; drinking pubs were packed with revelers, scores of people were seen displaying a Valentino Rossi-esque skills on their motor bikes.
 
Almost every street in the city crackled with fireworks and blared with horns. Anyone who would take a swipe at Kotoko fans for celebrating the way they did needs hurling in a dank prison cell for all eternity. 
 
They had lost the first leg 2-3 and needed overturn the results against the Nigerian Champions and they did it in style as Matthew Kelvin Andoh and Emmanuel Gyamfi scored to send Asante Kotoko through to the next stage.
 
Here are four things we learned from the epic clash.
 
Kotoko triumph in must-win encounter
 
This was a tight, tense match that was always going to be higher on tension than quality. 
 
The stakes were incredibly high for both sides, with the losers destined to exit the competition. 
 
The game ebbed and flowed with Kotoko's more patient, considered approach helping them exert control in the early stages. 
 
Kano Pillars created chances of their own and, on another day, could have emerged victorious, but it was Andoh and Gyamfi who produced the game's decisive moments to win the day for the Ghanaians.
 
Keita and Arthur started together and caused all sort of problems
 
Asante Kotoko fans had been asking for it for a long time and, finally, Kjetil Zachariassen relented.
 
In the absence of Fatawu and Yacouba, Richard Arthur and Naby Keita were given the nod but it wasn't clear how they would line up.
 
On the few occasions they have been on the pitch together, Zaccariasen has opted to play Arthur through the middle and Keita out on the left, and that is how he started.
 
Because they are both known for their ability as 'penalty box strikers', there was always going to be intrigue when they finally had a prolonged period together; but it worked as well as their quality would suggest on the day. 
 
Keita, in particular, thrived in his role, toying with the fullbacks. The Guinean striker latched onto a pinpointed lofted pass from the flank before ' chesting,' for Gyamfi, who volleyed expertly past the goalkeeper to register Kotoko's second.
 
Perhaps overtime they will both want to play through the middle, but they have certainly answered some doubts over their compatibility.
 
Blay on another level for Kotoko once again
 
It was a midfield masterclass from Justice Blay on Sunday. Kano Pillars just could not get near the midfield magician as he inspired Kotoko to a deserved victory. 
 
There will, of course, be tougher tests for Blay, and he does still need to prove himself in the big matches, but this was a performance to be enjoyed once again.
 
The former Medeama man's game involved a series of spectacular long passes and shrewd tackles. He was just too good for a Pillars midfield that did not have the legs or energy to prevent him time and space.
 
He already looks the club's best signing this term and has instantly filled the void left by Richard Senanu.
 
Kotoko can build something under Zachariassen
 
Hired as a replacement for Charles Kwablan Akonnor few months ago, the former Ashgold has instantly endeared himself to the fans of the club with some eye-pleasing displays by his team. 
 
The confidence he has instilled in the team suggests a bright future; they play a lot like Ashgold did, but with a huge gulf in quality.
 
Kotoko should be given credit for staying true to their principles in the face of a clearly superior level this term, and Zachariassen deserves the chance to build something long term if he so pleases.
 
BY: GODFRED BUDU YEBOAH
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