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Alger thump authority to beat Morocco’s FAR Rabat in CAF CC

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USM Alger celebrate in a past match
  • USM Alger won 2-0 at home
  • They now need to avoid defeat in the second leg in Morocco
  • Pyramids scored late to draw with gallants in the other match

Algeria’s USM Alger earned a comfortable 2-0 first leg advantage over Morocco’s FAR Rabat in the quarter finals of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Goals in either half from Saadi Radouani and skipper Zineddine Bellaid gave the home side victory and they will head to next weekend’s return fixture in Morocco with a tinge of confidence and a hope of guarding their lead and qualifying to the last four.

Radouani scored at the stroke of halftime off a setpiece. A corner floated from the left was blocked directly to his path and the defender made no mistake, beating the keeper at his near post.

Before the goal, the home side whose fans had painted the stadium red in their numbers had good chances to score, Brahim Benzaza shooting wide from close range before dangerman Aimen Mahious had an attempt with an acrobatic kick go just wide.

In the second half, FAR started off brighter as they looked to get back into contention early enough. Zakaria Fati did well to find space from distance, but his eventual low drive didn’t threaten much as it rolled wide.

Failed to make the most of their chances

They kept pushing the home side into their own half, but failed to make the most of their chances.

They were punished in the 61st minute from another setpiece, skipper Bellaid towering above everyone else to thump a header home from Benzaza’s well delivered corner.

The visitors were stunned, but lacked the proper response as USMA held on for the win.

Elsewhere in Cairo, Ramadan Sobhi scored a stoppage time penalty as former finalists Pyramids secured a home draw against South African debutants Marumo Gallants, the two playing to a 1-1 stalemate.

Gallants had looked to be headed for a memorable 1-0 victory away in North Africa, but a handball by Sibusiso Khumalo as he tried to block a cross from Mohamed Sharaf saw the home side win a late penalty.

Sobhi stepped up, sent the keeper the wrong way to secure the draw that gives the Egyptians a chance heading to next weekend’s return tie down south.

Dangerman Ranga Chivaviro had scored the lone goal for Gallants 10 minutes after the restart, a lead they jealously guarded till the dying minutes of the game when they were undone by a penalty.

The 30-year-old scored his fifth goal of the knockout phase of the competition, bouncing a header into the net in the 55th minute after peeling from his marker to head home a Lucky Mohomi corner.

Brilliant start to second half 

It was a brilliant start to the second half after the opening 45 had bore little of clear-cut scoring chances.

Three minutes after scoring, Chivaviro almost doubled their tally when he wriggled his way at the edge of the box to find a yard of shooting space but his low drive rolled inches wide.

On the other end, Pyramids wasted a good chance when Sobhi dribbled his way into the box, but he chose to cut back with a chance to shoot, allowing Gallants to clear. In the 61st minute, they came inches closer when Mohammed Elgabbass controlled a cross from the right and went for an overhead kick, but his effort hit the base of the bar.

Pyramids keeper Ahmed Elshenawi then put his side in the game in the 88th minute with a brilliant one handed save, plucking away a well taken volley by Letsie Koapeng.

The saved proved vital as just two minutes on the turn, the home side won a penalty to score and secure a draw.

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