Unlike the start

Alaa Abdel-Ghani , Tuesday 5 Dec 2023

Egypt’s two football teams playing in the African Champions League did not fare as well in their second group match as they did in the first, reports Alaa Abdel-Ghani




Defending champions Ahly of Egypt were held to a 1-1 draw in Der es Salaam on Saturday afternoon in a Group D encounter against Tanzanian champions Young Africans on Match Day 2 of the group stage of the African Champions League.

Ahly’s South African threat Percy Tau scored what looked like the winner for the record 11-time champions in the 86th minute but a dramatic finish in added time by Pacome Zouzoua secured the leveler for the hosts.

Despite the draw, Ahly remain at the top of the group with four points, leading Ghana’s Medeama and Algeria’s Chabab Belouizdad by one point. Young Africans are at the bottom of the group with only one point.

Ahly had gotten off to a roaring start in the group stage, comfortably beating newcomer Medeama 3-0.

Meantime, surprise package Mauritania’s FC Nouadhibou registered a historic 2-0 victory over Egypt’s Pyramids 2-0.

The two goals came early and late. The opener was scored by Sidi Amar in the fourth minute. Nouadhibou found the second as substitute Abdalahi Oubeid put the game beyond Pyramid’s reach in the 94th minute.

It was Nouadhibou’s first ever win in the Champions League despite finishing the match with 10 men.

Pyramids began their group stage campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over DR Congo’s TP Mazembe in Cairo.

All four teams in Group A now have three points after two games but Pyramids FC sit at the bottom, trailing one of the top favourites Mamelodi Sundowns, TP Mazembe, and Nouadhibou on goal difference. Mamelodi Sundowns recently won the inaugural African Football League.

In one stunning result in the Champions League, in Côte d’Ivoire in Group B, last season’s finalists Wydad AC suffered their second defeat in a row, losing to ASEC Mimosas. With no points and ASEC and Jwaneng Galaxy from Botswana on four points, the struggling Casablanca club now face the risk of a shocking early elimination.

In the second-tier African Confederation Cup, Egypt’s two clubs did better than their teammates in the Champions League, with both extending their winning streak. Egyptian side Modern Future came from behind to beat Al-Hilal of Libya 2-1 at Martyrs of Benina Stadium, near Benghazi, on Sunday.

Jaafar Iddriss of Al Hilal opened the scoring in the third minute. Russia’s 2018 World Cup striker Marwan Mohsen equalised in the 65th minute.

Modern Future’s defender Ali Al-Fil received a red card for a second bookable offence but that did not stop Gambia’s 20-year-old forward Kajally Drammeh from scoring Future’s winner in the 93rd minute.

Future had narrowly edged SuperSport United of South Africa 1-0 in the opening round.

Modern Future are now joint leaders of Group A with six points alongside USMA of Algiers. The two North African rivals will meet in top-of-the-table clashes on 10 and 20 December. Al Hilal and SuperSport United have zero points.

In the same tournament, former champions Zamalek of Egypt trounced Guinean side SOAR Coyah 4-0 in their second match.

Two goals in each half by Ahmed “Zizo” Al-Sayed, Mahmoud ‘Shikabala’ Abdel-Razek, Seifeddine Jaziri and substitute Ibrahima Ndiaye did the trick, aided after SOAR Coyah were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Aboubacar Yatara was sent off for a direct red card in the 72nd minute.

The easy win was in marked contrast to Zamalek’s first victory in which they snuck by unfancied Libyan outfit Abu Salem 1-0.

Zamalek top Group B with six points, ahead of Abu Salem and Angola’s Sagrada Esperança with three points each. SOAR Coyah are bottom with zero points.

Zamalek won the Confederation Cup in 2019.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 7 December, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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