Ghana Premier League defending champions Medeama SC fought hard to make it through to the group stage of Africa’s premier club competition despite losing to Horoya AC.
The second round of the CAF Champions League qualification games has been intense, with all teams leaving no stone unturned to book a ticket to the lucrative group stage.
Ghana’s representative, Medeama AC are through to the group stage, but it did not come easy.
The Tarkwa-based side had to manoeuvre past Remo Stars via penalties to book a date against Guinean side Horoya AC.
The first leg had ended 3-1 in favour of the Ghanaian side. It was a decent lead to take into the return leg, but could easily be wiped off.
A 1-1 first-half draw gave Medeama the advantage
Horoya needed to score two unreplied goals to qualify for the group stage, which made their mission a herculean task.
Medeama knew what they had to do to sail through. A clean sheet was vital to their quest to land in the group stage.
Before the vociferous support enjoyed by the Guinean side, it took nerves of steel to finish the first half with a chance of qualification.
With the game barely halfway through, Medeama received a lifeline. Horoya conceded a penalty in the 22nd minute.
The hotly contested penalty was converted by their top scorer for last season, Jonathan Sowah.
The goal gave Medeama a three-goal advantage.
The goal made the task almost mission impossible for Horoya. They needed to score three times to tie the game and go into penalties.
Four goals would be sweeter, as it will ensure direct qualification, but how do they score the required goals without conceding again?
It didn’t take long for Horoya to draw level. Two minutes after conceding, they equalized through Ocansey Mandela.
Goalkeeper Felix Kyei blocked a fierce long shot from Gnagna Barry, but Mandela was quick off the block to knock in the rebound.
The rest of the first half became cagey as Medeama tried to keep their hosts at bay.
Horoya won the game but not tie
The home side needed three more goals to beat Medeama to book a place in the next phase.
Their quest for the required goals saw the coach make changes at halftime. Alya Camara and Dramane Nikiema came on Mory Kante and Ismael Camara.
The home side continued to put pressure on the Ghanaian champions but had no luck breaking down their defence.
Medeama was treading on a knife’s edge as they continued to ride their luck.
The signs were ominous. It was not going to be Horoya’s day. Things were not working for them as their efforts were yielding no dividends.
Horoya finally took the lead in the 70th minute through Mohamed Keita. The young substitute made his presence count as he hit the equalizer for the home side.
The goal set the tone for a nervy final 20 minutes for Medeama. A third goal would tie the game and make it dangerous for Medeama.
The Ghanaian side had to withstand constant pressure from Horoya, who were searching for a third goal.
The Matamkas, buoyed by home support, continued the battle for the elusive third goal, but Medeama was bent on sealing a place in the group stage.
The visitors managed to hold on to their aggregate lead, frustrating the Guineans.
The game ended 2-1 for a Horoya victory, but it was not enough to secure a place in the lucrative group stage, as Medeama won 4-3 on aggregate.
Moussa Pinpin Camara, Issaka Samake, Salif Coulibaly, Mohamed Lamine Fofana, Mbemba Camara, Mory Kante, Ismael Camara, Mohamed Djibo, Alseny Soumah, Ocansey Mandela, Gnagna Barry
Mohamed Camara, Ibrahima Sory Doumbouya, Dramane Nikiema, Abdoulaye Paye Camara, Sekou Ahmed Doumbouya, Daouda Camara, Sory Traore, Mohamed Keita, Alya Toure
Felix Kyei, Nurudeen A, Kofi Asmah, Kamaradini M., Fatawu Hamidu, Emmanuel Cudjoe, Baba Musah, Godknows Dzakpasu, Jean Vital, Joshua Agyemang, Jonathan Sowah
Appiah Kubi, Richard Akrofi, Azaria Fordjour, Nana Kofi Babil, Kwadwo Amoako, Derrick Fordjour, Godfred Abban, Benjamin Bature
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago