Carteron doesn't believe Esperance colluded with MC Alger to eliminate Zamalek

Ahram Online , Saturday 10 Apr 2021

Zamalek needed Esperance to beat MC Alger to qualify for the African Champions League quarters virtue of a better head-to-head record

Patrice Carteron

Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron said he doesn't believe Esperance colluded with MC Alger to knock his side out of the African Champions League group stage on Saturday.

The White Knights, last season's runners-up, missed out on a place in the quarterfinal despite crushing Senegal's Teungueth 4-1 in Cairo.

They needed Esperance to overcome MC Alger at home to progress virtue of a better head-to-head record but, although the Tunisians grabbed the lead, the visitors shared honours with a second-half equaliser.

Many Zamalek supporters accused both sides of match-fixing on social media but Carteron played down such talks.

"I don't think there was any fixing … both are big teams," the Frenchman told the post-match news conference.

"But if I were in Esperance's shoes, I wouldn't have wanted Zamalek to advance because facing MC Alger in the latter stages, for example, would be better for them than playing against Zamalek."

Zamalek finished third in their group with eight points, one behind MC Alger and three adrift of leaders Esperance.

Carteron said his side will now fully focus on their domestic campaigns as they seek to win the Egyptian Premier League for the first time since 2015.

"We will fight to win the league and cup. For me, winning the domestic league is difficult than winning the African Champions League," he added.

"Competition with Ahly will be very difficult because they are consistent, but we are determined to maintain the same spirit that we have found lately."

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