Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1243, (23 - 29 April 2015)
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1243, (23 - 29 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Three matches to forget

The Egyptian representatives in the CAF African Champions League and Confederation Cup suffered two losses and one draw at home to make their progress to the group stage challenging. Abeer Anwar reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

In the CAF African Champions League round of 16 first leg, Egypt’s two representatives, Ahly and Samouha, lost, making it an uphill struggle for the second leg.

On Sunday, Egyptian giants and eight-time title holders Ahly lost to a last-minute goal in their away first leg match against Morocco’s Moghreb Tetouan. Mouhcine Yajour scored the game’s only goal in the dying minutes of the match to hand his team the victory and the lead before the second leg match to be played in Cairo in two weeks time.

The Red Devils were far from their best at the small Saniat Rmel Stadium in Tetouan and they were unable to control the match with their vast African experience. They are now at risk of being eliminated from the tournament they once dominated for the second successive year after losing last year to Libya’s Ahly Benghazi at the same stage.

The Red Devils’ Spanish coach, Juan Carlos Garrido, restricted Tetouan’s attack strategy but the Red’s chances were few and far between.

Egypt’s Smouha also lost to Congo’s AC Leopards 1-0 in Congo after the opponents scored from a penalty kick in the 30th minute in the first leg of round 16.

Smouha administrative manager Adel Mahgoub strongly criticised the referee because of the penalty. “He cancelled a proper goal for our side. I think African football will never develop with such referees who are unqualified to judge matches,” Mahgoub said.

On the other hand, Zamalek of Egypt drew goalless against Morocco’s FUS Rabat at Suez Stadium in Cairo in the first leg of round 16 of the CAF Confederation Cup to make their job in the second leg difficult after failing to win at home. Zamalek coach Jesualdo Ferreira attributed the loss to the Egyptian national team’s training camp and the number of injured players in the White Castle. The Portuguese said he was unhappy with the game’s result as well as the players’ performance throughout the 90 minutes.

“The team suffered the absence of the efforts of some of its prominent stars due to injury while the others performed badly. On the other hand, the Moroccans were very well organised and they thwarted all our scoring chances,” Ferreira said after the game.

Zamalek lacked the efforts of both Ali Gabr and Ahmed Dwidar due to injury and this was reflected in their defensive line. Moreover, some Zamalek players are taking part in the Egypt national team training as part of preparations for the qualifiers to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. In spite of all this, Ferreira was still confident that Zamalek will qualify for the group stage of the Confederation Cup, and get it from Morocco.  

In other matches, Ismael Kone scored twice in two minutes as Mali’s Stade Malien snatched a dramatic 2-2 draw with Congolese club TP Mazembe in the African Champions League. A mid-first half goal from the penalty spot by Alaeddine Youssef gave Sudanese Merrikh a 1-0 home victory in Omdurman over Tunisia’s Esperance.

CS Sfaxien of Tunisia lost 1-0 away to Algeria’s MC El Eulma.

Morocco’s Raja Casablanca shared four goals with Entenete Setif of Algeria, while USM Alger of Algeria edged Guinea’s Kaloum Star 2-1.

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