Asante Kotoko are yet to record their first win of the season after being held to a pulsating 1:1 draw by Karela United in their match week three encounter at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday. It took a 90th minute strike by Baba Yahaya to salvage a point for the Porcupines whose campaign so far has been shambolic and uninspiring.
Having lost on the road to Bibiani Gold Stars ahead of the match, many fans were hopeful of a victory to turn things around after a torrid start to the season, but they had to sit on tenterhooks throughout the match to secure one point at the death. Most of them left the stadium disappointed, accusing management of recruiting players far below Kotoko’s standard.
Karela United broke the deadlock just eight minutes into the match through former Kotoko attacker, Evans Adomako who capitalised on a defensive blunder to punish his former employers. It was a long ball from the midfield in search of Adomako but Henry Ansu who was the last man for Kotoko had all the time to play the ball to safety but allowed Adomako to “steal” the ball from him.
He swiftly dashed into the penalty box before placing the ball beyond the onrushing Danlad Ibrahim for the first goal of the match. The goal scorer would however take an early shower after colliding with Ansu, resulting in a head injury.
Asante Kotoko stepped up their performance after conceding and made a series of incursions into half of the visitors who gallantly repelled all the attacks. Coach Prosper Ogum made his first substitution in the 39th minute bringing on Baba Yahaya for Isaac Oppongin in his quest to pull parity before the end of the first half.
Yahaya’s involvement almost produced an instant result after initiating a swift move that looked very promising but Eric Zeze agonizingly wasted the opportunity to the dismay of the home fans who were already on their feet to celebrate the equaliser.
Despite Kotoko’s desperate push to cancel the lead before halftime, they failed to make their dominance count as referee Robert Musey brought proceedings to an end.
The visitors looked more likely to score the second goal when play resumed as they created three decent chances within ten minutes, hitting the woodwork in one of the build-ups.
With 20 minutes to the end of the match, Kotoko appeared uninspiring as they struggled to penetrate the defense of Karela built around Maxwell Agyemang who played for the Porcupines last season. Their persistence however paid off in the 90th minute when Baba Yahaya hit the back of the net with a ferocious strike from outside the box.
The goal ignited some sense of hope among the fans after referee Musey signaled nine minutes of additional time, but Kotoko still failed to snatch the maximum three points.
This leaves Kotoko at the 17th position on the league log only a point better than Medeama who have a match on hand due to their involvement in continental competition.