Asante Kotoko succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their Algerian counterparts ES Setif in the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Confederation Cup first leg play-off at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Kwame Poku opened the scoring for the Porcupine Warriors midway through the second half but ES Setif responded with two goals from Amoura Mohammed and Houssam Eddine Ghacha to gain the advantage heading into the second leg.
ES Setif started the game on the front foot as expected considering their quality.
They attack the Kotoko defence and created some early chances, which were not utilised.
Naby Keita nearly broke the deadlock for the Porcupine Warriors on the 19th-minute mark but his header inside the penalty box missed the target narrowly.
The game opened up halfway through the first half and striker, Setif Malick Touré came close in giving the away side the lead but Kotoko goalkeeper Razak Abalora dealt with Touré’s weak shot.
Top scorer for Kotoko Opoku had a glorious opportunity to put the home side ahead in the 33rd minute after Fabio Gama found him with a superb pass but Algerian goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia was equal to the task as he produced a brilliant save.
Kotoko nearly finished the first half with a goal but Imoro Ibrahim’s drive on the edge of the box went a whisker of the crossbar.
Kotoko was fired up to get the opener at the start of the second half with Setif on the back foot.
Ibrahim Moro once again had an opportunity to put the Porcupine Warriors ahead but his well-struck drive was blocked by the Setif defence.
Opoku broke the deadlock for Kotoko in the 69th minute after Emmanuel Gyamfi’s brilliant pass found him with a through ball as he converted superbly for the home side.
The Algerian side responded in quick fashion and equalized through Amoura Mohammed in the 73rd minute who delivered a ferocious header past Kotoko goalkeeper Razak Abalora.
Kotoko was stunned with the equalizer and the away side took the lead in the 80th minute after Amoura beautifully teed up Houssam Eddine Ghacha who struck home into an empty net.
Naby Keita had the chance to restore parity for Asante Kotoko from the penalty spot but Setif goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia pulled a stunning save to preserve their lead.
The away side held on to their lead as they would now take a 2-1 advantage into the second leg as they look to secure a spot in the group stages.