Kano Pillars on Sunday have crashed out of the CAF Champions League after losing 0-2 to the hosts, Kumasi Asante Kotoko.
The Ghanaians advanced 4-3 on aggregate following Asante Kotoko’s earlier 2-3 scoreline in Kano.
An early Matthew Kelvin Andoh strike and an Emmanuel Gyamfi second-half effort ultimately proved decisive in the preliminary round second leg fixture at Kumasi’s Baba Yara Sports.
With the first leg ending 3-2 in favour of the Nigerians, Kotoko qualify for the first round on a 4-3 aggregate, earning a chance to face Tunisia’s Etoile Sahel in the next phase.
Pillars coach Ibrahim Musa predictably put faith in talisman Rabiu Ali and striker Nyima Nwagua to spearhead their attack.
Buoyed by the crowd, the hosts took only three minutes to get going as Andoh drove a rebound into the net for the opener after Pillars goalkeeper Suraji Ayeleso parried Richard Arthur’s first shot.
After the goal, it looked as though it was all going to be Kotoko but that was not the case as the visitors grew into the game more and more.
Still, Kotoko were on the front foot, a situation which would force Pillars into an early substitution in the 26th minute when Nasiru Sani was taken off for an early shower, his place taken by Yusuf Maigoro.
Four minutes later, Masu Gida would make a second substitution, this time Nzube Anaezemba replacing Ifeanyi Nweke.
The goal and early substitutions aside, there were no further big moments in a first-half dominated by the spirited hosts.
Kotoko began the second stanza with another spout of energy, an action that saw Keita hit yet another rebound into the net.
The Guinean celebrated wildly, taking off his shirt and earning a yellow card for his inappropriate jubilation, only to see the strike ruled out moments later for offside.
Gyamfi drove a shot just wide in the 63rd minute, then Ali replied for Pillars with a similar effort at the end.
At this moment, there was no holding back by the visitors as the standing aggregate score stood against them on away goals.
Nwagua’s shot then missed the target by inches in the 68th minute.
Kotoko would not just watch their lead threatened as Arthur’s thunderous strike for a second goal came off the woodwork.Pillars mounted a late challenge for a goal but their efforts yielded nothing as Kotoko held on and they have advanced on a 4-3 aggregate.
This victory means that Kotoko will face the Tunisian side Étoile Sportive du Sahel in the next round of the competition.
Another Ghanaian club AshantiGold SC yesterday beat Equatorial Guinean side Akonangui FC 3-0 in the CAF Confederation Cup qualifying phase.