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Four of five penalties missed as Ghana’s Asante Kotoko edges CARA in CAF club tie

Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP | Four penalties were missed before Asante Kotoko of Ghana converted one in stoppage time to edge CARA of Congo Brazzaville 1-0 on Sunday in a CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round tie.

Saddick Adams fired the first Kotoko spot-kick wide before team-mates Amos Frimpong and Baba Mahama had their attempts saved at Baba Yara Stadium in central city Kumasi.

CARA proved equally inept when it came to penalties in the first leg with their lone spot-kick also saved to the astonishment of a big crowd in the 40,000-capacity stadium.

The Senegalese referee awarded a fifth penalty in the first minute of additional time and Mohammed Yakubu showed how it should be done by drilling a hard low shot into the corner.

Kotoko supporters later poked fun at their team on social media, with one suggesting the highly embarrassed squad should refuse to accept win bonuses.

The match pitted two former African champions against each other in the continent’s equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

Asante won the African Cup of Champions Clubs — forerunner to the CAF Champions League — in 1970 and 1983.

CARA are the only Congo Brazzaville club to have won the premier African competition, lifting the trophy in 1974.

The clubs meet again on February 21 in Brazzaville and the overall winners advance to a round-of-32 showdown with Ben Guerdane of Tunisia.

Moroccan Ayoub el Kaabi carried on from where he left off in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) last weekend by scoring for Renaissance Berkane in a 2-1 win over Mbour Petite Cote of Senegal.

His 66th-minute goal came soon after the visitors had a player red-carded, and cancelled the lead taken by the west Africans before half-time.

El Kaabi, a Moroccan second-tier footballer last season, scored a record nine goals as hosts Morocco won the CHAN for home-based players.

Laba Kodjo struck on 76 minutes to give Berkane an uncomfortably narrow advantage ahead of the return match.

Hawks of Gambia shocked Akwa United of Nigeria 2-1 in southern city Uyo with the home team trailing by two goals for much of the match.

Mohammed Jallow and Lamin Charity scored for the visitors within 34 minutes of the kick-off before Victor Mboama halved the deficit 18 minutes from time.

Although the Nigeria league is ranked among the top 12 in Africa, clubs from the most populous country in the continent have struggled to make an impact recently in CAF competitions.

No Nigerian club has won the 14-year Confederation Cup with Dolphins (now Rivers United) coming closest by finishing runners-up to FAR Rabat of Morocco in 2005.

However, Gambia are among the weakest African football nations and Akwa will be hugely embarrassed by the home loss.

The Nigerians can redeem themselves in Gambia later this month, but will have to score at least twice there to survive.

APR of Rwanda and Simba of Tanzania are virtually assured of last-32 places after 4-0 first-leg wins at home against Anse Reunion of the Seychelles and Gendarmerie Nationale of Djibouti.

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