A resilient Asante Kotoko grabbed a vital away point against Karela United on Sunday as the Porcupines’ unbeaten Premier League season continued with a goalless draw at CAM Park.
A tensed end-to-end first half produced a few scoring opportunities though there were a lot of incursions into each other’s half.
Samuel Appiah, making his debut in place of the injured Christopher Nettey, produced a lovely touch to stop a dangerous pass into our area in the 5th minute, and Samuel Boateng was flagged offside two minutes later as he latched onto Isaac Oppong’s lovely chip to face off with the Karela goalkeeper.
Isaac Oppong’s 19th minute shot was saved by the Karela keeper, and Umar Basiru was unlucky at our end three minutes later as his close-range header grazed the upright.
Georges Mfegue, the other debutant on the day, was pushed down in the 34th minute as he picked a through ball to set himself up against the keeper. Strangely, the offender, Papa Kwofie, escaped with a yellow card.
Andrews Kwadwo Appau headed narrowly wide in the 41st minute, five minutes before the half was ended with Karela’s Kelvin Andoh’s stray shot.
The intensity increased in the second half with a bit more unfavourable conditions.
The pitch became slippery following the rains which started at the death of the first half, making ball control and movement difficult
And with a lot of close calls going in favour of the hosts, it meant that the Porcupines had to dig deep into their form, strength and emotions to get something out of the game.
A quick counter-attack in the 56th minute saw the ball played behind our defence line. Richard Boadu chased down the Karela player in possession of it and with a nice sliding effort, redirected the ball to throw.
The influential midfielder, who already was on a yellow card, was given a straight red by the referee, reducing our numbers to 10.
Coach Prosper Ogum altered his approach two minutes later, bringing on Sheriff Mohammed for Samuel Boateng in a bid to tighten his midfield.
Emmanuel Keyekeh joined the game in the 72nd minute for his season’s debut, and Abdul Ganiyu produced a fine block to stop a dashing shot into our box four minutes later.
Isaac Oppong blew just wide in the 75th minute and Sherrif Mohammed curved a long-range lobby a whisker of the crossbar two minutes later.
Karela United doubled up their numbers in our area as the game reaches its end, but the Porcupines remained resolute.
An 85th-minute cross blown into our box was met with a gapping header which was timely cleared by Appau. A Karela player latched onto the rebound which again was cleared by Ganiyu.
The ball did not travel far and was brought in again with a pass which was met with a shot, but Razak Abalora produced a timely block with his body for a corner.
Frank Etuoga came on for his debut just after Mudasiru had cleared the resultant kick, moments before the game was ended.
The Porcupines went into the game with four wins out of as many games, and so the draw increased our points to thirteen.
It has also extended our unbeaten run to five games before Saturday’s Kumasi Derby with second-placed King Faisal who are on 10 points after drawing at home with Medeama.