- El Merrikh picked their first win in the groups
- They have now moved to second in the group
- Belouizdad have dropped to third
Sudanese giants El Merreikh have picked up their first win in Group D of the CAF Champions League after seeing off Algeria’s CR belouizdad by a solitary goal in a match played in Benghazi, Libya. Merreikh are playing their matches in Libya as their home ground in Omdurman has not been certified by CAF.
Paulo de Souza scored a first half penalty and this was all Al Merrikh needed as they punched their first Group D victory.
The victory saw Merrikh move to second in the group with four points, skipping above the Algerians who have now lost back to back matches after last weekend’s defeat at the hands of Esperance.
The Sudanese side had most of the chances in the opening half. De Souza scored the opening and solo goal of the match in the 32nd minute from the penalty spot, taking responsibility himself after he had been appended by Belouizdad keeper Alexis Guendouz.
Merrikh dominate chances
Before that, Merrikh had some chances with Matheus Bossa’s freekick tipped over the bar by the keeper after a good curl from the edge of the box. The Sudanese continued to dominate and they had another chance when Alex da Silva had a rasping shot from the right go just wide after a good counter attacking play from the hosts.
On a counter, Merrikh should have scored when Al Gozoli and Bossa played a one-two change of passes, the former going through on goal but couldn’t get a clean shot on goal after side stepping the defender, his effort rolling into the keeper’s arms.
The closest the Algerians got on goal was in the 20th minute when Leonel Wamba took a shot on the half volley from distance, but the keeper was equal to the task.
In the second half, it was the Sudanese who had the best chances with De Souza and Hussein Al Gozzoli striking curling shots inches wide. They had shouts for a penalty downed by the referee when a MMerrikh defender handled inside the box.
CRB pile pressure for equalizer
Belouizdad piled in the pressure seeking to get back into the game. They thought their efforts had finally paid off at the stroke of 90 minutes when Emmanuel Iwuala struck home from inside the box, but the ball was pulled back on a foul in the build up.
Merrikh had a late chance to put the cherry on the cake with a late freekick, but Ramadan Agab saw his effort saved by the keeper.
The Algerian side ponded some pressure in the dying minutes dumping balls into the Merrikh box, but they couldn’t earn a late equalizer.