- USM Alger scored a late goal to win 2-1
- This is Yanga’s first defeat at home in the Confed Cup
- They must win by a margin of more than two goals in the return tie
Tanzania’s Young Africans suffered home heartbreak in the CAF Confederation Cup, as they lost 2-1 to Algeria’s USM Alger in the first leg of the final played at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Islam Merili scored an 84th minute winner as USM Alger took a positive step towards their first ever continental trophy, earning themselves a huge advantage ahead of next weekend’s return fixture in Algiers.
It was a dramatic end to a tightly contested affair, with Yanga having thought they had drawn level in the 82nd minute through Fiston Mayele’s brilliant goal. But, the Algerians scored the winner just two minutes later. Aimen Mahious had scored the opener in the 32nd minute.
This is Yanga’s first defeat at home in the tournament this season.
Alger broke the deadlock in the first half when Mahious rose to bounce a header home at the backpost after being picked out by a Brahim Benzaza delivery from a freekick on the left.
Yanga, powered by a fully packed Benjamin Mkapa Stadium had started well with Tuisila Kisinda having a shot fly straight to the keeper while Mudathir Yahya had another effort from distance go over.
Mayele with another good chance for Yanga
In the 23rd minute, Mayele had a good chance when he sneaked behind a defender on the left, but from a tight angle, he could only hit across the face of goal.
After conceding in the 32nd minute, Yanga rallied to try and draw level, and they came close at the stroke of halftime when Kisinda picked the ball on the right and rifled at goal, but his effort was just wide.
In the second half, the Tanzanians were faster off the blocks and they piled the pressure, seeking to get back on level terms. They had a chance in the 69th minute when Yahya picked the ball inside the box, but his shot was turned behind for a corner by the keeper.
Yanga kept their pressure and they were rewarded in the 82nd minute when Mayele scored a brilliant goal, setting himself up with the first touch off a Yahya pass before rifling into the bottom right corner with his second.
While they thought they had battled to draw level and would go for a possible winner, the Tanzanians were punctured just two minutes later when Merili side-footed the ball home after some good work from Khaled Bousseliou to set him up inside the box.
Home fans stunned
The home fans were stunned into silence, the ecstasy just minutes later drowning in deafening silence. Yanga tried to rally once again to draw level, but even with 10 minutes of added time, they couldn’t salvage even a draw.
Substitute Bernard Morrison had a chance very late on after 10 minutes were added on when he won the ball inside the box, but the slippery conditions of the pitch made it difficult to find a shot on target.
Yanga must now win by a margin of more than two goals to clinch their first ever Continental title while Alger only need to avoid defeat at home or in the worst, a 1-0 loss to clinch their maiden crown as well.