Patrick Akoto - Sekondi
Medeama coasted to a 2-0 win over an impressive Zesco United side in the the CAF Confederation Cup second qualifying round first leg tie at home on Sunday.
The Mauve and Yellows needed goals from Nathaniel Asamoah and Michael Helegbe to beat the highly-fancied United side at the Essipong stadium.
The visitors were caught dilly-dallying in possession on two many occasions in the early exchange, leaving Medeama powerful midfield to steal the ball with ease and ruthlessly surge forward to get the better of a ragged Zesco United defence.
Zesco United went behind after just nine minutes through striker Nathaniel Asamoah who connected well from Malik Akowuah’s incisive pass.
The ex-Asante Kotoko attacker intelligently lobbed the ball past goalkeeper Lameck Nyangu to set the stadium ablaze, while raising optimism of a potential goal-harvest.
However that was not to be as the visitors recovered and begun to take the game to the home side- with an exciting inter-passing game that delighted the decent crowd.
A midfield dominated fixture saw the visitors rely on long balls to catch Medeama defense off-guard and they did so on few occasions but goalkeeper Muntari Tagoe stood between them and the equalizer.
Medeama scored the much- needed second goal through the spot kick expertly taken by Michael Helegbe in a rather difficult game for the home side.
Substitute Theophilus Anoobah was clipped in the 18-yard box after beating two defenders and the Libyan referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot.
Helegbe stepped up and placed the ball behind the goalkeeper to ease the pressure on the team ahead of the corresponding fixture next weekend.
Coach Carlos Roberto Paullete have a lot of work to do ahead of the return fixture following the impressive display from the visitors who looked calm and confident throughout the 90 minutes.
Medeama put away many decent chances with midfield sensation Kwame Boahene, Godbless Asamoah and Malik Akowuah the biggest culprits.
Boahene squandered many glaring chances which were easier to score than to miss.
The story could have been different had Muntari Tagoe not dived low to save Kelly Sicily’s stabbed effort from close range in the opening minutes.
But he failed to make the most of Bernard Mpili through ball and Medeama counter-attacked through Michael Helegbe and Malik Akowuah before the ball fell to Asamoah who lobbed to score with his right boot.
Zesco won many admirers in the first half especially with some sweet inter-positional and attacking flair which thrilled the crowd.
They grew in confidence with some sloppy passing from Akowuah and Helegbe which nearly gifted the visitors with the equalizer but Jackson Mwanza’s effort was blocked by goalkeeper Muntari Tagoe.
Zesco United will feel down-hearted after Muntari Tagoe saved the bell for the home side.
He kept his calmness and composure to keep Chiselele Kagawe diving header away to the relieve of coach Carlos Roberto Paullete.
The second half produced thrills and intense moment for both sides but was it Medeama who kept the visitors on the back foot.
The introduction of Theophilus Anoobah provided the magic for the Ghanaian side as the visitors struggled to cope with his pace and skills which eventually won the side the penalty.
Medeama will go back home feeling they could have done better and will have to work hard ahead of the return fixture next week in Ndola.
The Zambian side will be a delight to watch in their own backyard as they two will square off to determine which side pick the ticket to the final qualifying stage.