CAF Confederation Cup: Zamalek’s Win End 16-Year African Trophy Drought

Egypt’s Zamalek players celebrate with the trophy after they won the CAF Confederation Cup final football match between Egypt’s Zamalek and Morocco’s RSB Berkane at Borg El Arab Stadium near Alexandria on May 26, 2019.
Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

Brilliant penalties enabled Zamalek Sporting Club of Egypt to win the CAF Confederation Cup final near Alexandria Monday and end a 16-year African trophy drought.

Mahmoud Alaa converted a 55th-minute VAR spot-kick to give Zamalek a 1-0 second-leg win over Renaissance Sportive Berkane of Morocco and leave the teams tied at 1-1 on aggregate.

With no extra-time in CAF club matches, the final went to a shootout and Zamalek converted all five penalties to win 5-3 before a near-capacity crowd in the 86,000-seat stadium.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Lose To USA 2-0 In FIFA U-20 Tourney

The regular-time penalty and those in the shootout were all expertly taken, with their power and placement giving Berkane goalkeeper Abdelali Mhamdi no chance.

Success came as a massive relief to the Cairo-based club, who play some fixtures at the Borg El Arab Stadium almost 200 kilometres (114 miles) north-west of the capital for security reasons.

After winning nine CAF titles between 1984 and 2003, Zamalek failed to add another until the victory over Berkane in a match that kicked off late Sunday and stretched into Monday.

There was a mix of relief and joy for the predominantly Zamalek-supporting crowd after the shootout as they became the third most successful club in CAF competitions with 10 titles.

Al Ahly, Cairo neighbours of Zamalek and their greatest rivals for more than a century, have won 19 African titles and TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo 11.

It was the fourth time in 16 finals that a shootout decided the outcome with Hearts of Oak of Ghana, Stade Malien of Mali and MAS Fes of Morocco winning finals on penalties.

Second Swiss Winner

Zamalek coach and former Tottenham Hotspur manager Christian Gross became the second Swiss handler to lift the Confederation Cup after Michel Decastel in 2007 with a Tunisian club.

The second leg result in Alexandria could have been different had Hamdi Laachir not squandered a clearcut early chance for Berkane, blazing over from close range.

Soon after, Zamalek came close to cancelling the 1-0 lead the Moroccans took into the return match when a Youssef ‘Obama’ Ibrahim lob beat the goalkeeper but went over the bar.

The Ethiopian referee initially ignored Zamalek penalty appeals early in the second half, but was persuaded by players to review a goalmouth incident and ruled that Najji Larbi handled.

Alaa blasted the penalty into the net, setting up a tense second half with Berkane sensing that if they scored an away goal, they would almost certainly win their first CAF final.

But an experienced Zamalek defence, backed by 31-year-old goalkeeper Mahmoud ‘Gennesh’ Abdel Rahim, held firm to force the penalty shootout.

Substitute Khalid Boutaib scored from the first spot-kick for Zamalek, and then Laachir fired embarrassingly wide to immediately put Berkane on the back foot.

It proved a crucial miss as Alaa, Abdallah Gomaa, Youssef Ibrahim, and substitute Ayman Sayed scored for the Egyptian White Knights to finally end their African title jinx.

Success for Zamalek confirmed the North African dominance of the Confederation Cup — the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League — with 11 winning clubs coming from the region.

AFP

Enyimba Book CAF Confederation Cup Quarter-Final Spot With Dramatic Win

Enyimba Book CAF Confederation Cup Quarter-Final Spot With Dramatic Win

 

Wasiu Alalade scored in stoppage time to give Nigeria’s Enyimba a 1-0 homecoming victory over CARA of Congo Brazzaville on Wednesday and a CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals place.

The dramatic Group C triumph completed a joyous return home for the club based in Aba (Abia State)  to a renovated ground and a new artificial pitch.

Enyimba last played at home two years ago and a near-capacity crowd defied wet weather to create a vibrant atmosphere at the 15,000-capacity Enyimba International Football Stadium.

Victory lifted four-time African title winners Enyimba to the top of the final standings with 12 points and CARA also qualified for the knockout phase as runners-up with nine points.

Williamsville of the Ivory Coast, who had been expected to beat already-eliminated bottom club Djoliba of Mali in Abidjan, could only draw 0-0 and ended third a point behind CARA.

USM Alger of Algeria and Rayon Sports of Rwanda also booked places in the September 3 quarter-finals draw in Cairo by finishing first and second respectively in Group D.

A missed penalty did not prevent USM overcoming Gor Mahia of Kenya 2-1 in Algiers while Rayon scored early to edge out-of-contention Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in Kigali.

The knockout-stage line-up was completed when Raja Casablanca of Morocco trounced Aduana Stars of Ghana 6-0 to win Group A.

Mahmoud Benhalib, the leading scorer this season in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League, raised his goal tally to 10 by bagging a second-half brace.

– Defended Valiantly –

ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast had to settle for third spot behind Raja and V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo despite beating the Kinshasa outfit 2-0 in Abidjan.

V Club, and Renaissance Berkane of Morocco and Al Masry of Egypt from Group B, qualified earlier this month.

Defeat was bitter for CARA, who lost five previous CAF away matches this season, as they defended valiantly with goalkeeper Chansel Massa making a string of fine saves.

But when a Mfon Udoh free-kick rebounded off the crossbar four minutes into stoppage time, substitute Alalade reacted quickest to stab the ball into the net.

It was the second successive Confederation Cup match in which Enyimba grabbed an additional-time winner with Farouk Mohammed converting a penalty at Djoliba.

Williamsville, seeking a last-eight place in their first African venture, dominated without being able to break through a superb Djoliba defence.

USM topped Group D with 11 points thanks to goals from Congo Brazzaville-born Prince Ibara Domiana and substitute Amir Sayoud before Jacques Tuyisenge reduced arrears.

The Algerians should have won more convincingly as Mohamed Meftah had an early penalty blocked by the leg of Fredrick Odhiambo and they should have been awarded another spot-kick.

Rayon, who trailed Gor by five points with two rounds remaining, went ahead after 19 minutes through Bonfis Bimenyimana and that goal secured second place with nine points.

Gor ended on eight points after losing their last two matches and Young Africans completed a disappointing campaign with just one victory and four points.

AFP

Eguma Lauds Team’s Mental Strength

Rivers United Technical Manager, Stanley Eguma has praised his team’s mental strength, following their qualification for the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Port Harcourt based Rivers United, held Rayon Sports to a goalless draw in the second leg in Rwanda to seal a 2-0 aggregate victory and afterwards, Eguma lauded his players for not panicking and sticking to the game plan despite being reduced to 10 men on 57 minutes.

Rivers, who are the only Nigerian team left on the continent, complete the lineup for the group phase of the Confed Cup ahead of the draw scheduled for Wednesday April 26 in Cairo, Egypt.

Rivers United Coach, Eguma Warns Against Complacency

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United Beat Rayon Sports 2-0Rivers United Technical Adviser, Stanley Eguma says he is not getting carried away by his team’s first leg win over Rayon Sports of Rwanda, in the round of 32 of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Two goals from Emeka Atuloma and Guy Kuemian, gave the Port Harcourt based side the crucial home win but despite the advantage, Eguma has warned his players not to get complacent ahead of the return leg in Rwanda.

Both sides would be meeting again on Saturday April 22 at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali with the aggregate winner progressing to the group stage of the competition.

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United Beat Rayon Sports 2-0

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United Beat Rayon Sports 2-0Nigeria’s CAF Confederation Cup Contender, Rivers United have rekindled their hopes for a continental title, following a 2-0 win against Rayon Sport of Rwanda in their first leg playoff.

The Nigerian club secured the victory in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with goals from Emeka Atuloma and Guy Kuemian.

Atuloma set the hosts on the lead in the 29th minute, while Kuemian netted what proved to be the winning goal in the 51st minute.

The return leg will take place on April 22 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Etoile And Enyimba To Play On Wednesday

EnyimbaThe return leg clash of the CAF Champions League between Tunisian club side, Etoile Du Sahel and Enyimba of Aba will be played on Wednesday in Sousse.

Enyimba won the first leg in Port Harcourt 3-0 courtesy of a hat-trick by Mfon Udoh.

The seven-time Nigeria champions will train under floodlights in Sousse on Tuesday night.

The overall winners of this tie will march on to the group stage of the Champions League, while the losers drop down to the second-tier Confederation Cup.

The game has been fixed for 6pm Nigerian time.

Enyimba advanced to the final round of qualifiers 6-3 on aggregate at the expense of Vital Ó of Burundi.

Despite losing 2-1 in the second leg, the Elephants of Aba progressed having defeated the Burundians 5-1 in Aba.

CAF Champions League: Enyimba Advance To Final Qualifying Round

Champions LeagueIn the CAF Champions League, Nigeria Premier League champions, Enyimba have advanced to the final round of qualifiers.

Despite losing 2-1 in the second leg to Vital Ó of Burundi, the Elephants of Aba progressed 6-3 on aggregate.

Ikechukwu Ibenegbu scored for Paul Aigbogun’s men in the 28th minute but went on to concede two goals in the game.

Enyimba need to cross the next hurdle that comes in order to make it to the money spinning stage of the CAF Champions League.

Mixed Fortunes

Meanwhile, Warri Wolves have crashed out of the CAF Champions League after failing to overturn a first leg deficit against El Merreikh of Sudan.

Peter Nieketen’s boys eventually lost the tie 2-0 on aggregate.

Nasarawa United also tasted the bitter pill of defeat in the CAF Confederation Cup after losing 4-1 to Algeria’s CS Constantine.

With this result the solid miners have been shown the exit door as the tie ended 4-2 on aggregate in favour of their opponents.

CAF Confederation Cup: Nasarawa United Beat Gen Foot 

Nasarawa UnitedAn 89th minute goal was all that Nasarawa United FC of Lafia needed to overrun the Youthful Generation Foot Football Club of Senegal as the home boys popularly known as solid miners clinched the match scoring two goals to one.

The match played at the Abuja national stadium saw the solid miners taking the lead in the seventh minute through a goal scored by Tayo Fabiyi.

Attempts to increase the tally failed as the visitors frustrated every move of the home boys to increase the tally.

With a one goal deficit conceded in the first half, the visiting generation foot football club of Senegal changed the pace and tempo of the game upon resumption of the second half and their efforts paid off in the 47th minute with an equalizer from Ibrahim Niane.

A foul within the penalty area of the visitors in the 88th minute saw the Nasarawa boys taking the lead in the 89th minute as Sogbeso Seun converted the spot kick to end the game at 2-1 in favour of Nasarawa United.

Warri Wolves Walk Over Sao Tome Club

Meanwhile Warri Wolves progressed to the next round of the 2016 CAF Champions League without kicking a ball.

The Warri side were to host Praia Cruz in the first leg of the preliminary round but the Sao Tome club did not show up.

Wolves will now prepare to face Sudanese champions, Al-Merreikh, in March.

CAF: Nasarawa United’s Opponent To Arrive Abuja On Friday

Nasarawa UnitedNasarawa United’s CAF Confederation Cup opponent, Generation Foot, will arrive in Abuja on Friday ahead of Sunday’s preliminary round clash.

The Senegalese FA Cup winners have informed the Nigeria Football Federation that it has decided to take care of their stay in Nigeria, with the implication that the solid miners will also take care of their stay in Dakar in the return leg.

While Generation Foot is campaigning on the continent for the first time, Nasarawa United played in the CAF Confederation Cup in 2007 after crashing out of the more lucrative CAF Champions League.

The winner of the fixture between Nasarawa United and Generation Foot will proceed to the second round, to battle it out with Club Sportif Constantinois of Algeria.

Weekend Continental Battles For Four NPFL Clubs

Kano Pillars, Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and Heartland FC will aiming to do Nigeria their fatherland proud this weekend and they march unto continental terrains to do battle on the field of play with fellow African clubs and hopefully sing victory songs at the end of 90 minutes.

Looking to book a place in the next round of the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup, Kano Pillars whose preparation to host and clamp down Ac Leopards on Saturday is in top gea as a call back has been extended to their main players who were in the Super Eagles camp ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers and they have reported back to the club side to aid the rest of the team against the AC Leopards.

The case is different for Ranger international, The Coach Emordi-led side will be leaving the shores of Nigeria for Burrundi where they will be locking horns with Vital’O for the first leg of the first round in the CAF Champions League on Sunday and the coach is full of so much believe and assurance that Rangers will come home with a wonderful score line in their favour even though Emordi will be making the Burundi trip without some of his key players presently in the Super Eagles camp.

Also Heartland FC will be hosting US Bitam from Gabon in Owerri at Dan Anyiam Stadium on Sunday and particular reference had to be placed on this team US Bitam of Gabon, because it was the Gabon club that actually walloped Sao Tome and Principe club Desportivo de Guadalupe in the preliminary round of the Confederation Cup by 17 goals. Heartland FC will definitely be on their guards as they would not want to be carting home so many goals after the Sunday clash.

Lobi Stars will also be taking on Liga Muculmana de Maputo and it has reached out to the players who were in the Super Eagles camp to come join up with their teammates so they can cheer each other to victory come Sunday in Bauchi.