DER ES SALAAM — Egyptian giants Al-Ahly were held to a 1-1 draw with against Tanzanian champions, Young Africans in Der es Salaam in the second round of the CAF Champions League group stage.
The record title holders with 11 to their name had to dig deep against the Tanzanian champions who were desperate for a result following last week’s 3-0 loss to CR Belouizdad in Algeria.
The evenly balanced encounter by two well-coached sides ended in dramatic fashion with both goals coming in the dying minutes of the game.
Ahly danger-man, Percy Tau found what seemed to be the winner for the defending champions in the 86thminutes but a dramatic finish in the referee’s additional time by Pacome Zouzoua secured the leveler for the hosts who gladly took the point against the Egyptian giants, cafonline reported.
Meanwhile in Mauritania, tournament group stage debutants, Nouadhibou stunned Egyptian side, Pyramids FC with an impressive 2-0 win at home to secure a historic CAF Champions League group stage victory over their more fancied opponents.
With three points, Pyramids FC now sits at the bottom of Group A, trailing Mamelodi Sundowns, TP Mazembe, and FC Nouadhibou in goal difference.
After suffering a crushing 3-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns last week, the Mauritanian side came into the clash determined to get a result and this was evident in the early opener found by Sidi Amar in the 4th minute.
After doing well to absorb the pressure, Nouadhibou found the second and final goal to secure the historic win in referee’s optional time as substitute, Abdalahi Oubeid made it 2-0 which sees all Group A teams level on three points after Match Day 2 of the competition.
Elsewhere, Angola’s Petro de Luanda secured an important 2-0 away victory over ES Sahel in Tunisia to further boost their chances of progression in the CAF Champions League.
The Angolan side continued their good start to the group campaign after last weekend’s narrow 1-0 victory over Al-Hilal, with Saturday’s victory now taking them to six points at the top of Group C thanks to the brace scored by Alexandre Guedes in both halves.
This was ES Sahel’s second consecutive loss following their derby loss to ES Tunis in their opening group match last weekend.
The Group C results sees the Angolans top the group ahead of Al-Hilal and ES Tunis who are equal on 3 points, while ES Sahel languishes at the bottom of the group with point to their name.
Meanwhile, the dismal group campaign start continues for Wydad Athletic Club who suffered another 1-0 loss in a simultaneous fixture against Ivorian giants, Asec Mimosas.
The former champions have not gotten into gear in this season’s group stages after first being stunned by Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy at home last week ahead of loss to the Ivorians.
After both sides’ fair amount of chances at goal for most parts of the match, it was Sankara Karamoko’s 72ndminute strike that saw the Ivorians secure the much-needed victory that sees them top Group B ahead of Jwaneng Galaxy on goal difference.
A stunned Tarek Thabet congratulated Al Hilal before ruing his Esperance side’s off-night as the Sudanese club claimed a famous 3-1 CAF Champions League victory.
First-half strikes condemned Thabet’s decorated Tunisians to a shock Group C loss on neutral territory in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The experienced coach took the surprise setback squarely on the chin, praising spirited opponents Hilal for capitalising on Esperance’s shortcomings.
“I first want to congratulate Al Hilal – they surprised us as our game plan failed to work as planned,” Thabet gracefully stated post-match.
However, the 52-year-old reminded that with all four teams likely to be locked on three points if Etoile du Sahel win against Petro Atletico on Saturday, the section remains wide open.
“We failed together but the group is still open. I’ll analyse our mistakes then we can bounce back next game which I’m still optimistic about,” continued Thabet.
The demanding schedule and extensive travel also proved testing for Thabet’s side according to the Tunisian.
“It wasn’t easy with players fatigued from the long flight from Tunisia. But we’ll make amends next time out,” he added.
Having impressively won the Champions League in 2018 and 2019, Esperance are no strangers to continental setbacks.
But rarely have Thabet’s seasoned troops been so outplayed since he took charge and bouncing back swiftly from this Hilal hiccup now represents the coach’s most pressing priority.