CAF Champions League 2020 - 2021

Esperance finish top of the table

Esperance top Group D in CAF CL mini league stage. Photo | CAF Online
Esperance top Group D in CAF CL mini league stage. Photo | CAF Online


Abdel Nour Belkheir scored in the 68th minute as Algerian side MC Alger came from down to draw 1-1 with Esperance at the Stade Olympique in Rades on Saturday to progress to the quarter finals of the Total CAF Champions League, while Egyptian giants Zamalek crashed out.

Heading into the final round of Group D matches, second placed Alger just needed a point to progress to the quarters while Zamalek needed to beat Teungueth in Cairo and hope Alger lose to Esperance.

The script went to Alger’s way despite Zamalek winning 4-1.

In Rades, Esperance who were already assured qualification got into the lead after 31 minutes when Nassim Ben Khalifa slid the ball in from close range after being set up by Anice Badri.

But, Alger came stronger in the second half, perhaps getting wind of Zamalek’s performance in Cairo against the Senegalese debutants. The Algerians pushed Esperance to play on the back foot and just three minutes in, they forced the Esperance keeper to a smart save with a header.

In the 57th minute, Moez Ben Cherifa once again made a decisive block.

But there was no stopping the away side 10 minutes later when Belkheir drew them level with a shot inside the box after being set up by a nice Samy Frioui cutback.

Meanwhile in Cairo, Zamalek were running riot against Teungueth.

They were ahead after 16 minutes when Mahmoud Hamdi El Wensh scored the opener with a low header after picking out a delivery off a freekick from skipper Mahmoud ‘Shikabala’ Fadhl Allah.

They doubled their tally in the 25th minute when Marwan Hamdy slammed a sweet volley into the roof of the net off a decent Ahmed Mohamed delivery into the box.

They continued dominating the Senegalese side and they scored the third in the 38th minute when Hamdy completed his brace with a little dink over the keeper after Youssef Morsy split the defense with a delightful chipped pass.

A few minutes to the break, they sealed the game with the fourth goal, El Wensh also completing his brace after glancing in a header off Ahmed Mohamed’s corner.

A minute after the break, skipper Shikabala should have had his name on the scoresheet but couldn’t hit the target at the backpost when Achraf Bencharki’s cross from the left found him unmarked.

Teungueth were an improved lot and they played better, pushing hard to get a consolation through Pape Sakho’s curling effort in the 48th minute.

Esperance finish top of the table with 11 points while Alger are second with 9 with Zamalek finishing third with eight and Teungueth bottom with four.