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Confederation Cup Medeama beat Sundowns to reach group stage

Ghana's remaining rep in Africa inter club competitions made their home advantage count as they edged the South African champions by 2-0 to reach Confederation Cup group stage

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Wishes and dream became a reality for Medeama Sporting Club after the final whistle on Wednesday afternoon at the Sekondi stadium. The scoreline was 2-0 in favour of the Tarkwa based side. The implication was a qualification to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

The effect of the 2-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns emanated from the first leg 3-1 defeat, but that under one-minute goal from Eric Kwakwa in Pretoria proved very crucial as it enabled his side qualify on the away goal rule.

The home side fervently wanted an early goal knowing they had two goal deficit to claw back. This made them play with enormous pressure and it affected their ability to take their chances.

Left back Moses Sarpong missed the first attempt on goal narrowly in the 3rd minute with a low shot. Sarpong provided a cross to Bernard Ofori but the header from the striker inside the box went straight into the hands of goalkeeper Onyanfo Dennis in the 10th minute.

Dennis then saved two close range efforts from Enoch Attah Adjei and Abass Mohammed in the 11th and 14th minutes respectively. Sundowns were under a furious siege by Medeama, as all the action were happening in their half.

At a point goalkeeper Dennis smartly kicked the ball out and went to the ground, calling for medical attention. This looked more of a tactical wit on his part to neutralize the pressure on them. So it became an opportunity as Putso Mosimane called his ten outfield players for some pep talk and Evans Adotey, on the other bench took same advantage.

Medeama made lot of errors as a result of their anxiety and the goals were not coming. Malik Akowuah fired wide a free kick from 20 yards in the 24th minute and when Abass also put wide an 8 yard finish from a goal mouth scramble, the home fans screamed out their disappointment.

But in the 32nd minute, Inthlele Thiabo was adjudged to have fouled Attah Adjei in the box and a penalty was awarded. The decision did not go down well with Sundowns but it stayed.

Malik Akowuah went for the ball and slotted home at the right bottom corner of the goalkeeper's post while Dennis dived to his left. First goal in the 35th minute and it ignited belief going into the break.

Abass in the 48th minute blasted wide a shot after Attah Adjei had shielded an opponent off the ball for him. Wing wizard Kwame Boahene also made a careless finish after doing well to keep the ball in play by the bar line.

Medeama feverishly searched for the most important second goal which would by and large qualify them but time was running. Akowuah was stretched off for an injury and it looked like a big blow following his splendid midfield executions.

Finally the nerve breaking goal came in the 63rd minute when Bernard Ofori scored with a half volley inside the box after Attah Adjei fetched him the ball with a header.

The stadium erupted to the roof with cacophonous shouts and massive celebrations. Meanwhile, Sundowns goalkeeper Dennis was sent off for an off the ball foul on Attah Adjei. Pitso was irked but he brought on Zambian goalie Kennedy Nweene.

In the 73rd minute, a confusion between center back Paul Aidoo and his goalie Muntari Tagoe over who goes for a free kick sent by Sundowns nearly resulted in a goal against Medeama but Samuel Adade cleared his lines.

Nweene also showed his prowess in the 89th minute with a great save to a header from Victor Ayireh..

Pitso's disappointment of watching his team who have won the Premier Soccer League and Nedbank Cup fail to progress was palpable.

The game came to an end, the euphoria and the pride of qualification from Medeama was incredible. After eight years, a Ghanaian club has made it into the group stage of the competition which was won by a Ghanaian club in its maiden season.

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