Asante Kotoko, this evening, will square off against ES Setif. Their mission is to overturn a 1 – 2 first-leg deficit. That means they have to comprehensively beat ES Setif in the reverse fixture. The Porcupines will have to come up with a formidable tactical approach in their quest to score goals in Setif.
Johnson Smith will probably opt for the 4-4-2 (diamond) formation, a set-up he has mostly used in games since taking over from Maxwell Konadu. Moreover, the former Karela United coach is expected to make a couple of tweaks for the upcoming encounter.
Habib Mohammed is likely to ahead of Emmanuel Sarkodie in the defensive midfield role whereas Latif Anabila looks likely to remain in the starting XI after a splendid display against last weekend.
However, let us now have a look at how Smith might set his Asante Kotoko side up against the North Africans.
Razak Abalora will continue to operate in between the sticks for the Porcupines.
Abdul Ganiu and Yusif Mubarik will be expected to play at the heart of the Kotoko defence against Setif. The pair has been brilliant defensively this season which has earned them a call up into the Black Stars and has also allowed the Porcupines to play higher up the pitch. Both the defenders complement each other’s qualities and have done well in the last three games they’ve played together.
Christopher Nettey is a guaranteed starter at the right-back spot whereas his best friend Ibrahim Imoro will fill in on the other flank, as the left-back. Up against a very tactical side, the diminutive full-backs will be expected to stay compact and keep their shape at the back.
As mentioned earlier, Habib Mohammed could be drafted in midfield alongside Latif Anabila in the holding midfield position. The duo will be assigned more of a defensive role to protect the ‘back-four’ against a free-scoring E.S. Setif side.
The Algerians will likely look to sit deep and frustrate Kotoko, so Habib Mohammed and Anabila’s energy and creativity in the middle and experience in African games could well be key to getting a result.
Fabio Gama and Emmanuel Gyamfi are expected to operate from the left and right side of the midfield respectively.
Mudasiru Salifu and Emmanuel Sarkodie will have to settle for a place on the bench but might come on in the second half if needed.
Naby Keita could continue his partnership with Kwame Opoku upfront. The duo will fancy their chances of getting their names on the scoresheet when they face off the resolute Setif defence.
The squad in full:
Razak Abalora (GK), Christopher Nettey, Imoro Ibrahim, Abdul Ganiu, Mubarik Yussif, Habib Mohammed, Emmanuel Gyamfi (C), Latif Anabila, Kwame Opoku, Naby Keita, Fabio Gama.