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CAF CL: Salim Jamal’s Al Hilal shock Etoile du Sahel at home to blow group wide open

By Shafic Kiyaga
Al Hilal team line up before a game | Courtesy photo

Athar El-Tahir’s strike in the 59th minute granted Sudanese side Al-Hilal Omdurman pulled off a shock 1-0 victory over 2007 champions of the CAF Champions League Etoile Sahel at the Olympique Stadium in Rades, Tunisia.

The victory blows group B open, as Hilal move joint top with Etoile on six points, but they stay third by virtue of goal difference after three games played.

Record champions Al-Ahly defeated Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum 2-0 to take their tally to six points and on top of the group.

Hilal’s victory is their first on Tunisian soil, and also the first continental triumph under new boss Hamada Sedki, who replaced Salah Mohamed Adam, fired after the 2-1 loss to Ahly in Cairo.

The Sudanese had to hold their own against Etoile, as they were put on the back foot for a large chunk of the game, and Jamal had to make a couple of outstanding stops with the home side creating a flurry of chances.

Jamal did enough to put off Etoile Captain Yasin Chikaoui in the opening minutes, before again making himself big when faced one on one against Ammar Jemal moments later.

However, close to the hour mark, you could hear a pin fall inside the Olympique Stadium; Etoile’s adopted homeground due to development works on their Sousse home ground, As El-Tahir’s superb strike beat Etoile goalie Achraf Krir into the back of the net.

Etoile then fluffed a number of opportunities in the dying minutes as they suffered their first loss of the campaign. Hazem Hassan twice failed to find the target, heading wide in the 64th minute before he failed to connect well with Ahmed Ouannes free kick in the 86th minute.

Etoile head coach Juan Carlos Garrido felt his team deserved better from the game, but sadly they have to take in one of the harsh realities of football and move on.

“It’s difficult to explain today’s game. We didn’t deserve to lose today. We created many chances to score and deserved to win.”

“Unfortunately, they scored from the only chance they got. That’s football; hopefully, we will make up for this loss in the upcoming games,” Garrido told media after the game.

His counterpart Hamada was welcoming of the three points against a difficult team, which give his side a better chance of progressing for the knock out rounds.

“I knew this was going to be a difficult game. Etoile is an excellent team that can control spaces very well. We knew we had to take every chance we get to score. It wasn’t easy getting the three but that will help better our chances in this group,” Hamada told Cafonline.com.

The two teams will lock horns again in a fortnight in a Match Day Four clash in Omdurman.

Elsewhere, Joseph Ochaya sat out as TP Mazembe played to a 1-1 draw away to Primero de Agosto. Rainford Kalaba gave Mazembe the lead in the eighth minute before Paciencia Mabululo cancelled out his goal four minutes later.

Mazembe remain top of group A after Zamalek also settled for a 1-1 draw against Zambia’s ZESCO United.

In Group C, Hlempho Kekana’s 59th minute strike ended USM Algers four year unbeaten home record, as Mamelodi Sundowns condemned them to a 1-0 defeat.  

The Masandawana now move top of their group with seven points, Wydad Casablanca comes second with five points, Algers is third on 2 points while Petro de Atletico is bottom with just a single point from three games.

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