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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Tunisian, Moroccan football clubs rise to top

Club Africain of Tunisia and Moghreb Fes of Morocco took over leadership of the two African Confederation Cup mini-leagues this weekend after home victories

AFP, Sunday 14 Aug 2011
Club Africain
Club Africain players celebrate

A 2-0 win over InterClube lifted 1991 African champions Club above the Angolans to the top of Group A while Noghreb pipped Sunshine Stars 1-0 to replace the Nigerians as Group B pacesetters.

InterClube and Sunshine were suffering their first pool losses in the third series of matches and will get a chance for revenge at the end of this month when they enjoy home advantage in the return fixtures.

After a shock 2-0 triumph for Daring Club Motema Pembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo at JS Kabylie of Algeria Friday, predictability returned to the second-tier African club competition 24 hours later.

Club needed to win after being held goalless at home by Kaduna United of Nigeria two weeks ago and they overcame police outfit InterClube despite having Chaker Reguii sent off by the Egyptian referee on the stroke of half-time.

Defenders scored both goals with Mohamed Yacoubi putting the Tunisians ahead just past the half-hour mark in the opening half at the 45,000-seat El-Menzah Stadium in Tunis.

Mid-year signing Braulio Diniz conceded an own goal 10 minutes after half-time to seal the fate of InterClube, who held Kaduna away and defeated ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast at home in earlier outings.

Former African Champions League winners ASEC host Kaduna in Abidjan later Sunday needing maximum points to ignite their campaign after only drawing at home against Africain before the unrewarding journey to Luanda.

Abdelhadi Halhoul was the toast of northern Moroccan city Fes as his 29th-minute goal for Moghreb ended the perfect record of African rookies Sunshine from south-western town Akure.

Precise, one-touch passing carved a gaping hole in the heart of the visitors defence and Halhoul broke through to poke the ball wide of the advancing goalkeeper for a second solitary-goal home win in a row by Moghreb.

Defeat completed a frustrating week for Stars, who flew to Fes without visas after claiming the Moroccan embassy in Abuja stalled the process while an expired passport meant coach Gbenga Ogunbote and two players joined the squad only on match day.

The African Confederation Cup is based on the European Europa League, offers a 660,000-dollar first prize and the winners take on the African Champions League title holders in a one-off game for the African Super Cup and 75,000 dollars more.

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