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CAF Champions League: Tunisia’s Etoile Sportive Builds on Winning Form to Go Top

It’s two wins in two outings for Etoile Sportive Du Sahel in the Total CAF Champions League. The Tunisian giants beat Sudan’s Premier League side Al Merreikh, 2-1. Brazilian forward Diogo Acosta fired the opening goal after thirty-four minutes to put the visitors on a comfortable footing.

Hosts and Obudman outfit Al Merreikh, equalized through Bakari Al Madina’s 52nd minute strike to inject some lifeline into the home supporters.

However, a dramatic late surge in the final minutes forced the hosts into some costly howlers and super-sub Algerian Hameur Bouazza, was effective in delivering when most needed, plundering in the winning goal in additional time. The result means Sahel is unbeaten and top of Group A on six points in two games.

Second-placed Al Hilal Ombudman – another Sudanese side – garnered two points following a 0-0 stalemate with bottom-placed Benin’s Ferroviaro.

In group B it’s Zamalek atop on four points after the Egyptian club won its first game and drew the second on Tuesday. The stalemate comes on the heels of a goalless tie with Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli.

Algeria’s USM Alger occupies second place with just three points and will move two clear of Alger should they beat Zimbabwe’s CAPS United in Harare today who are yet to pick a point.

Former African champions Esperance Du Sportive Tunis (ESS) got held 0-0 by Ethiopia’s league leaders Kedus Giorgis at the Addis Ababa Stadium.

Title Holders Mamelodi Sundowns will be out seeking for a first win against familiar opponents DR Congo’s Vita Club.

Today’s game on Wednesday 24 May, will be a grudge affair between the two sides after the previous meeting ended in acrimony. The South African side faced elimination last year but won appeal after CAF found the Kinshasa-based outfit wanting of fielding an ineligible player.

The player in question, Francis Ondoa – a Cameroonian-born naturalized to Equatorial Guinea – was found to have forged his details leading CAF to forfeit the side’s points.

Gambian club Ports Authority tried to use a similar issue but the Confederation of African Football disciplinary committee opted against punishing The Dolphins twice for a similar offence.

Would the Vita gaffer deploy his star forward Ondoa again against cash-rich nemesis Sundowns? It won’t be long before we find out. The game is 3pm local time in DR Congo.

And in Yaounde, Coton Sport endured a 2-0 humbling to Egyptian heavyweights Al Ahly in group D’s game number two. Nigeria’s Oluwafemi Juior Ajayi planted the first goal before Momen Zakaria doubled the advantage two minutes after the 12th minute opener to send Ahly top on four points.

Moroccan leaders Wydad Casablanca have a chance to leapfrog Ahly should they rake up all points against Zambian side Zanaco United today at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.

However, Wydad coach Houcine Ammouta predicts a tough game ahead against a home-advantaged team.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It will be a very difficult match. Zanaco is a very good side and they work for each other on the pitch. We need to suffer for it if we are to get a win here [Lusaka],”[/perfectpullquote]

Ammouta said.

Meanwhile, opponent’s coach Mumamba Numba will look to his strikers to find their scoring form for Zanaco.

“We have to work hard and score. The team is ready and we have been working on the striking force. It is not going to be easy because North African teams are difficult to beat but we just have to do it,” Numba said.



Featured photo: Getty Images

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