On the ropes, given an uppercut followed by several jabs, gasping for breath and looking fervently for the bell to ring.
This boxing scenario epitomizes the end of the first round for Kotoko who were favourites to land the league after the opening weeks.
Fragile in confidence, beaten by Hearts in an anniversary match and outclassed by Olympics five days later in a league match to send Kotoko on a seven game winless streak. Now the Porcupine Warriors have appointed Steve Pollack to oversee a successful second round and return Kotoko to where they rightly belong.
But before that, they must cross a tricky hurdle at home against Tema Youth who are poor travelers on paper but look confident at nick points of Kotoko just as Inter Allies and Dwarfs have done over the past few weeks.
Everything seems gloomy in the Garden City now and the team’s confidence seems shattered. Their quest for attractive football urged them to see the back of Zdravko Logarusic. A decision which has proven costly in both sections of the field. Kotoko had conceded only 3 goals prior to his departure but they have now added six goals to their conceded column and managed to score only 9 goals all the season.
This is pretty abysmal for a team blessed with attacking options and depth. The immediate focus is against a Tema Youth who have only a win in five. Kotoko will have captain and reliable full back Amos Frimpong back in their ranks after a few weeks on the sidelines.
The Tema Side will be without Gabriel Leveh who is with the Black Starlets in Gabon.
A win is much needed for Kotoko to set the tone for a good second round but the Tema side will be delighted to play a spoiler role.
* The last AWAY side to prevent Asante Kotoko from scoring at HOME in the GPL is Ebusua Dwarfs who secured goal-less drawn game on 9th Apr. 2017 in match Day 11 in the 2016-17 season.
* Asante Kotoko have so far kept 230 CLEAN SHEETS out of 508 games in the GPL since 1999.
* Tema Youth have so far kept 37 CLEAN SHEETS out of 160 games played in the GPL since 2006.
* Asante Kotoko have won the Ghana league title on 23 occasions since the competition started in 1958.
* Tema Youth Best position in the Ghana Premier League since 2006 is 5th with 44 points in the 2007-08 season.
* Asante Kotoko worse performance in the Ghana league since 1958 is 11th out of 15-club league in the 1970 season.
* Tema Youth have been relegated on 2 occasions in the GPL since 2006 (2008-09 & 2012-13).
* Kumasi Asante Kotoko are currently 8th with 20 points after Day 14 games while Tema Youth on the other hand are 12th with 16 points on the Ghana top-flight log.
STATS BY: Isaac Amponsah (Ike), Director of Communications for Berekum Chelsea FC and Bright Yeboah Taylor of Adehye3 FM 99.1