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Gallants handed thrashing in Libya after travel delay drama

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Marumo Gallkants celebrate during a past match. PHOTO/CAF
  • The match was pushed forward by four hours
  • Gallants had failed to travel in time from South Africa
  • They went to the pitch straight from the airport

South African side Marumo Gallants were thrashed 4-1 by Libya’s Al Akhdar in the CAF Confederation Cup after arriving in Benghazi late. The South African side went straight from the airport to the stadium and paid for their lateness with a thrashing.

Gallants had found it difficult to travel to Libya for the game and only found a flight late, forcing CAF to push the match forward by four hours from the initial kick off time.

But, despite the loss, the South Africans still qualified for the last eight.

Gallants were assured of a place in the last eight even prior to kick off after second placed USM Alger had played to a 1-1 draw with St Eloi Lupopo who are third. They are on nine points, with a four point buffer to third place with one round left in the group.

Heading into the final round, Alger, Akhdar and Lupopo will be jostling for the single remaining qualification slot from the group. Alger are on eight points and will progress with just a draw against Akhdar while the latter are in a must win situation.

Lupopo will be away to Gallants and also must win the match and hope the Libyans beat Alger by a lower score for them to sneak through.

Avenge for first leg loss

Akhdar put themselves into the battle to qualify with a brilliant performance, avenging for a similar loss they suffered against Gallants in South Africa.

Anas Alraheem gave the Libyans a 31st minute lead, one they held on till halftime. In the second half, they continued with their dominance and doubled their advantage five minutes after the restart through Ary Papel’s goal.

Gallants momentarily fought back into the game and they halved the deficit through Mpho Mvelase. However, Akhdar were determined to pick out a win and Papel restored their two-goal cushion in the 66th minute before he set up Mohamed Makari for the fourth seven minutes later.

Earlier on, Alger had closed in on a ticket into the quarter finals after playing to a 1-1 draw with Congolese side St Eloi Lupopo.

The point from the game took them to eight in group A, and will now only need a point in their last group match against Libya’s Al Akhdar to confirm their place in the last eight.

Tightly contested first half 

The first half was tightly contested, both sides taking a hands back approach with not so many chances in front of goal.

The game came to life in the second half. Junior Aubiang made the most of a defensive lapse from Alger to break the deadlock and give the home side a 1-0 lead.

With a single goal lead, the quarters looked a reality for Lupopo and they managed to hold on to the lead. However, all their work was undone at the stroke of 90 minutes when Ugandan import Allan Katterega deflected a cross into his own net to draw the Algerians level.

Despite efforts in added time, the Congolese could not turn the single point into three.

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