Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1393, (10 - 16 May 2018)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1393, (10 - 16 May 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Success at the start

Masri begin the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup with a win, reports Abeer Anwar

Masri  players battling for the ball against their African contenders
Masri players battling for the ball against their African contenders

Egypt’s Masri wrote a new chapter in their history after winning for the first time in the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup. In Port Said on Sunday against Uniao Sportiva do Songo of Mozambique, Masri won 2-0.

Port Said Stadium was packed with fans who celebrated attending an international event in their home stadium following a ban on spectators in the wake of the 2012 football riot which killed 72 people.  

Masri head coach Hossam Hassan said he was happy with his team’s victory. “We played to win this game in particular and we did win. It was very important to secure the first three points in the competition. We could have scored more and we wanted to but we missed so many chances which I can only call bad luck because they hit the post or went just wide. But in general we held possession of the ball. My players followed my instructions as planned.

“Despite the win, we had two major losses. Our key player Ahmed Gomaa who scored the two winning goals got his second yellow card which means he will miss our coming game against Al-Hilal of Sudan on 16 May in Khartoum. The second loss is the injury of Panse who will be X-rayed. I hope it won’t be serious so he can catch up with our second game against Al-Hilal.”

Hassan added “Now we’ll focus on our next game, Al-Hilal. This game is different because the Sudanese side is very strong and have reached African finals. We respect and appreciate their history. We will have absences which will make it a difficult game for us. But we will prepare well, though we have two important matches in the league against Ismaili and Ahly. Hopefully that would help our preparations and we don’t suffer any more losses.”

Masri captain Islam Salah said he and his teammates were determined to do their best and win their opening match in the round. “We were keen that the crowd would enjoy the game and our performance and be happy with the result and we did fulfill our promise. We are glad we were able to take such a positive step which we believe is going to be a great incentive for us in our next games whether in the national league or in Africa.”

Meanwhile, in the African Champions League group stage opener, eight-time African champions Ahly were held to a scoreless draw against Tunisia’s Esperance 0-0 on Friday although the Egyptian club was playing at home.

The Red Devils failed to score early or dominate. The first half was a highly contested and physical game with both teams failing to impose their domination and blocking all spaces at the back.

In the second half Ahly were disallowed a goal and denied a penalty.

It was Ahly’s third game without a win. They lost to arch-rivals Zamalek 2-1 in the Cairo derby and went out of the quarter-finals of the Egypt Cup against lowly Assiouti 1-0.

Against Esperance, the game was going in one direction, towards the Tunisian keeper, and the Egyptian champions had several opportunities to grab the three points but the points were shared at the end of 90 minutes.

With one point each, Ahly and Esperance are behind group leaders Township Rollers of Botswana who defeated Kampala City FC of Uganda 1-0 on Friday.

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