Losing midfield battle to AshGold cost us – Kotoko coach C.K. Akonnor
After losing 3-1 to AshGold in Wednesday’s NC Special Tier 2 semi-final at the Accra Sports Stadium, Asante Kotoko head coach, C.K. Akonnor, believes that their failure to dominate the midfield was the cause of the reverse.
Kotoko started well and took the lead after 5 minutes through Naby Keita but it went downhill for the Porcupine Warriors from that point as goals from Yusif Mubarik, Emmanuel Owusu and Mark Agyekum won the game for AshGold.
For Kotoko, they lost the chance to make their second straight final of the season after beating Hearts of Oak to reach the finals of the Tier 1 competition and after the match, Akonnor, said that not being competitive in the middle of the park was the team’s undoing.
“AshGold is strong in the midfield and that was a key part of our preparations. We planned to try to hold players like Appiah McCarthy, Abdul Latif Nabila but we did not do that.
We allowed to play and it was our fault. I hammered on that (the fact that we had to deal with them) on several occasions during our meeting and discussions. We lost our tactical discipline and that was it.”
Despite the admission of not being able to match AshGold, Akonnor stated that his team went into the game with a handicap as certain players were unavailable through injury.
“At the moment, we have lost some key players and we are struggling in that regard. We did not intend backing off them. We wanted to control the midfield”
The Reds do not have Richard Senanu and Maxwell Baako as they are out injured. In addition, there was some concern as Amos Frimpong, who was deployed as a midfielder against AshGold, limped off.
He will have to be looked at before the final of the Tier 1 competition which is set for June 23 at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi between Kotoko and Karela.