Kjetil Zachariassen’s team have one foot in the next round following victory at Kumasi’s Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Sunday
Augustine Okrah’s early strike and Richard Arthur’s second-half effort ensured a home win for the Porcupine Warriors in the first round first leg fixture at Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
Their first triumph over the Tunisians in five encounters, the Ghanaians must hold their own in the return game on September 27 to book a place in the group stage.
The main talking point of Kotoko’s team news was coach Kjetil Zachariassen’s decision to hand starting berths to Jordan Opoku and Okrah who both have had to delay their debuts in this season’s championship due to paperwork issues.
Elsewhere, new Ugandan signing George Abege was picked ahead of Burkinabe forward Sogne Yacouba to replace suspended Guinean frontman Naby Laye Keita in attack.
Faouzi Benzarti of Etoile, on the other hand, put faith in the likes of Venezuelan attacker Darwin Gonzalez, Firas Ben Arbi and Ariri Karim to lead his front-line.
It did not take the hosts any time at all to get going as Okrah drove a free-kick from the edge of the box into the net to make it 1-0 in just the second minute, announcing his presence in style.
Buoyed by the early goal, Kotoko took control of the half but did little to cause Etoile further problems.
On 35 minutes, Okrah released a thunderbolt against the crossbar, shortly before the referee ignored a big penalty shout by the Porcupines when Emmanuel Gyamfi appeared to have been fouled in the box.
Ten minutes after the break, Kotoko made it 2-0 through Richard Arthur, who beat an offside trap to shoot past Etoile goalkeeper Bdiri Makrem.
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Late on, the Porcupines almost added a third goal but Abege’s final ball left much to be desired after beating three defenders to get in position.
Even at two goals down, Etoile looked content with the score ahead of the return fixture at home as they resorted to time-wasting tactics until the blast of the referee’s final whistle.
In their last game at home, the Tunisians registered a big 7-1 win over Hafia FC of Guinea following a 2-1 away loss in the first leg.