Ghana’s Asante Kotoko secured an important away draw as they held JSM Bejaia to a goalless draw in Algeria in the last 16 of the African Champions League on Friday.
The home side wasted several scoring chances that could negatively affect their hopes of reaching the last 16 of Africa’s flagship football competition.
JSM Bejaia hit the woodwork two times in the first-half with French midfielder Toufik Zerara and Belkacem Niati all denied.
Kotoko goalkeeper Soulama Abdoulaye was also in good form, preventing the Algerians from getting a goal in the last-32, first leg fixture in Bejaia.
The Porcupine Warriors goalkeeper produced two fine saves to stop efforts from Zerara and Mebarki in the first half with the latter trying his luck with a 40-yard piledriver.
The French midfielder Zerara dictated the pace of the game from the left with his trickery but he just could not penetrate the defence of the Ghanaians.
Michael Akuffo tried to shock the home fans with his angled shot in the first half and even though the ball fooled goalkeeper Cédric Si Mohamed it could not find the net.
A fiery second-leg is expected in Kumasi as Kotoko have complained to CAF about their treatment from hosts JSM Bejaia in Algeria.
No flight was available from Algiers to eastern port city Bejaia, the promised two-hour road trip took twice as long, and some hotel rooms lacked running water and heating.
Stadium: Unit-Maghreb (Béjaïa) Referees: Fall Ousamane, Djibril Camara, Cheikh Touré
Yellow cards: Mebarki (90 ‘) (JSMB) Soulama Abdulai (14′), Ben Adama (44 ‘), Yakubu (69′ ) Asante Kotoko (Asante)
JSMB: Mohamed, Aït Fergane, Zeghli (Hammouche 90 ‘), Boukemacha, Mebrakou, Laribi, Zerrara, Niati, Mebarki, Derrag (Debeka 77 ‘), Boussaha (Aourès 83 ‘) Coach: Solinas Asante :
Kotoko starting line-up: Soulama Abdulai, Bobie Ansah, Banh Ben Adama, Adusei Kwabena, Sumaila Rashid, Michael Akuffo, Abdul Aziz Yasif (Richard Mpong 82 ‘), Issah Yakubu (Frimpong 90 +3), Godfed Asante, Michael Helegbe Kafui, Nti Boakye Kofi ( Seydou Bansey 75 ‘)
Coach: Didier Dramani