All-Tunisian Caf Confederation Cup final on cards

All-Tunisian Caf Confederation Cup final on cards

Sfax's players hug their teammate Alaeddine Marzouki (C) after he scored a goal during the first leg of the CAF Champions League semi-final football match between Tunisia's Club Sportif Sfaxien and Morocco's RS Berkane at Stade Taieb Mhiri in the Tunisian city of Sfax on April 28, 2019. (Photo by STR / AFP)

A Caf Confederation Cup final between Tunisian clubs remained possible Sunday after CS Sfaxien won 2-0 at home and Etoile Sahel lost only 1-0 away in semi-final first legs.

Record three-time winners Sfaxien defeated Moroccan visitors Renaissance Berkane 2-0 in Mediterranean city Sfax through goals from Alaa Marzouki and captain Hamza Mathlouthi.

Etoile Sahel, who have won the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League twice, fell 1-0 to Zamalek of Egypt in Alexandria with Mahmoud Kahraba scoring the only goal.

There has been an all-Tunisian Confederation Cup final with Sfaxien edging Etoile on away goals after both legs of the 2008 title decider were drawn.

The five titles won by Sfaxien and Etoile makes Tunisia the most successful country in the 16-year competition followed by Morocco with four victories.

In Sfax, Marzouki won possession after 29 minutes to launch an attack that ended with him heading a Houssem Dagdoug cross past Berkane goalkeeper Abdelali Mhamdi for the lead.

The advantage was increased to two goals just two minutes into the second half when Ismail Mokadem fouled Algerian Nadhir Korichi and Mathlouthi calmly converted the spot-kick.

Berkane came closest to snatching a goal with 10 minutes left at a near-full Stade Taieb Mhiri when Burkina Faso centre-back Issoufou Dayo nodded wide after a corner.

Renaissance, the leading scorers in the Confederation Cup this season with 26 goals, had 10 goal attempts against Sfaxien, but none on target.

Sfaxien had three attempts on target — the Marzouki header, the Mathlouthi penalty and a long-range shot that Mhambi saved comfortably.

In Alexandria, Zamalek triumphed thanks to a 36th-minute goal from Kahraba, but would have hoped for a wider winning margin before travelling west to Tunisia.

Etoile captain Yassine Chikhaoui was dispossessed just outside his penalty area and the ball broke to Kahraba, who hammered it across goalkeeper Makram Bediri into the far corner.

This was the only goal attempt on target from the Egyptian outfit despite playing at home in front of passionate supporters, many wearing replica white and red Zamalek shirts.

Etoile, the only club to win all five current and past African club competitions, came close to equalising twice during the second half at the 86,000-seat Borg el Arab Stadium.

A diving close-range header from Iheb Msakni flew just wide and Zamalek goalkeeper Mahmoud ‘Gennesh’ Abdel Rahim later blocked a scuffed shot from Chikhaoui.

Berkane and Etoile will host the return matches next Sunday and the two-leg final is scheduled for May 19 and 26 with the winners pocketing $1.25 million (1.1 mn euros).

 

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