Ahli's defeat to JS Kabylie in the African Champions League brought back unwanted memories, reports Abeer Anwar
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Shawki's goal against JSK is disallowed; Ahli's goalkeeper Sherif Ikrami backs away from the smoke induced by firecrackers; Ahli's windshield bus is smashed by Algerians; a melee erupted on the field
Playing in Algeria after the tension of last year's Algeria-Egypt World Cup qualifiers, Ahli lost 1-0 to JS Kabylie in their Group B Orange CAF Champions League clash on Sunday in Tizi Ouzou.
Adding insult to injury, the Ahli squad also suffered two rock throwing incidents at the hands of Algerians, a matter which forced Ahli to lodge a complaint with the African football association, the CAF.
Ahli President Hassan Hamdi told a press conference in Algeria before flying home that Ahli would file an official complaint with CAF after the team bus was pelted with stones before and after the match, and following the setting off of potentially dangerous fireworks on the field and the throwing of stones at the players during the match.
Hamdi also blasted the match observer who, he said, Ahli could not find after the match to register their complaint, adding that the observer's home address which had been given to Ahli, turned out to be fake.
Before the game, Ahli players had their bus pelted with stones on their way to their hotel from the airport. Two players, Osama Hosni and Ahmed El-Said, were slightly injured in an assault reminiscent of the stone attack by Egyptian fans in Cairo ahead of a World Cup qualifier in November last year which injured two Algerian players aboard their bus which was making its way from Cairo Airport to the hotel.
After Sunday's match Ahli players were forced to remain in their changing rooms four hours after the match until the Algerians fans left the stadium. The referee left the pitch surrounded by security.
As for the action on the field, from the first minute of the match, the two teams were on equal footing, attacking and defending until the 24th minute when JSK defender Mohamed Khoutir-Ziti scored the match winner to keep JS Kabylie at the top of the group with nine points followed by Ahli with four.
In the second half, midfielder Mohamed Shawki, who returned to Ahli from Turkey, scored what looked to be the tying goal in the dying minutes, only for the referee to disallow it for offside.
More headache was in store for the red-shirts when Hossam Ghali was flashed the red card.
It was Ahli's first defeat at the mini-league stage and their third overall this term, and also their first to an Algerian side since 1988.
"I am completely against the referee who cancelled our goal and kicked out Hossam Ghali," Hossam El-Badri, Ahli's coach, said. "He ruined the match. He also blamed the fans who threw stones and plastic bottles on Ahli players all through the match, and the referee did nothing.
"How did he allow the fans to use firecrackers that FIFA has prohibited in matches?"
I do not blame the players for their performance because they played under tense conditions... I am sure they will be able to make it in Cairo."
Ismaili earned their first win in the Orange CAF Champions league, a 1-0 win over Heartland FC of Nigeria in Ismailia. The Nigerian-imported Godwin Ndubuisi scored the only goal of the match. Ismaili fans kept cheering Godwin all through the match but other Ismaili players were reluctant to add more goals to make their job easier back in Nigeria in the return leg.
Heartland remains the only club in Group B without a win after three games.
After having won its first two matches, Esperance of Tunisia stumbled in Lubumbashi against the title holder TP Mazembe losing 2-1.
Dynamos achieved a slim victory against Entente of Setif in Harare 1-0.
JSK remains at the summit of Group B on nine points, Ahli have four, followed by Ismaili on three points with Heartland perched at the bottom on a point.
In the Orange CAF Confederation Cup, Egypt's Haras Al-Hodoud drew with CS Sfaxien of Tunisia goalless in their Group B fixture at Max Stadium in Alexandria. Although playing in their home country, Haras were unable to score after losing a number of golden chances and make their journey to Tunisia a bit easier.
Moroccan side FUS Rabat beat Zanaco of Zambia 1-0 in the other Group B match in Rabat.
FUS Rabat leads the pack on three points, with Sfaxien and Haras-Al-Hodoud in that order with a point each and Zanaco at the bottom pointless.
Sudanese giants Al-Hilal cruised to a 2-1 victory over Libyan champions Al-Ittihad in their Group A Orange CAF Confederation Cup clash in Tripoli.
In the other Group A match, AS FAN of Niger and Djoliba of Mali settled for a goalless drawn in Niamey.
Al-Hilal have three points, AS FAN and Djoliba trail with a point each with Al-Ittihad at the bottom without a point.