Kumasi, Dec 11, GNA - Kumasi King Faisal beat Africa Sport of Cote d'Ivoire 1-0 in the opening of Otumfuo Invitational Soccer Tournament played at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday. With this victory, Faisal have therefore, qualified to meet Kumasi Asante Kotoko in the semi-final match on Wednesday. AshantiGold will play ASFA Yennega of Burkina Faso in another preliminary match on Tuesday and the winner will also meet Enyimba FC of Nigeria on Thursday in another semi-final encounter. Sumaila Yahaya scored the only goal of the match in the 70th minute against the run of play.
After the kick-off by Oheneba Adusei Poku, Akyempimhene who represented the Asantehene, the two teams went into action under the instructions of referee G.K. Manu. Faisal had the first corner in the second minute and Sumaila Yahaya nearly scored but goalkeeper Sadia Roland who made a save got injured in the process and was replaced by Daniel Beouroi. Faisal continued to pile pressure but the visitors took over and had a chance in the 18th minute, but a shot from Souango Philip went off target as they wasted another opportunity in the 23rd minute when Sinaly Bamba, with only goalkeeper Osei Boateng to beat shot straight into his hands.
With Sery Logbi combining perfectly with Bamba and Kwame Pele, who was adjudged the best player of the match, Africa Sports thrilled the fans with beautiful passes from the 26th minute. Faisal, determined to carry the day, had a chance in the 31st minute but Habib Mohammed missed the target after a cross from Sumaila Yahaya. Africa Sport, who replaced Asec Memosa in the tournament, were equal to the task as they continued to pile pressure on Faisal for an opener but the defence of Faisal stood gallantly. In the 42nd minute, Faisal's Eric Ansah in front of an empty net shot off target. Africa Sports Koussi Cesao was given the marching orders by the referee for attracting two yellow cards for rough play in the 44th minute.
Playing with 10 men, Africa Sports resumed the second half full of fight but it was Faisal who nearly took the lead but Sumaila Yahaya's shot in the 48th minute missed the target narrowly. Faisal from then on mounted a series of attacks but could not find the net until the 70th minute when Sumaila Yahaya lobbed the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Daniel for the match winner. Disaster hit Africa Sports when their top defender, Diabi Benego was injured in an attempt to save a dangerous situation and never came back in the 75th minute. Playing with nine men, the visitors mounted a last minute onslaught for the equalizer but their moves were saved by goalkeeper Osei Boateng.