Sfaxien. Al-Ahly move closer to ACL final
Tunisian team Sfaxien and Egypt's Al-Ahly moved closer to the African Champions league (ACL) final after good first-round semi-final matches this weekend.
CS Sfaxien held the South African Orlando Pirates to a goalless draw in Johannesburg. Any victory in the return match on October 14th will see the Tunisians qualify for the tournament's final.
In the other first-leg semi-final, Al-Ahly took a 2-0 lead over Cote-d'Ivoire's ASEC with goals by Mohamed Aboutrika and Emad Moteab. Aboutrika scored his sixth goal of the tournament in the 25th minute, while Moteab scored his sixth 13 minutes later. Winger Tarek Said assisted on both goals.
Playing on their home turf in Cairo Al-Ahly's players slackened the pace in the second half, allowing their opponents more possession of the ball. ASEC never came close to scoring.
The overall winner of the ACL receives $1m.
In other news, Algerian coach Jean-Michel Cavalli has added French-based players Abdelmalek Cherrad and Karim Ziani to his 22-man roster for next Friday's African Cup of Nations qualifier against Gambia. Both of them missed the first match of the campaign against Guinea. Algeria will miss Antar Yahia, who will be out two matches because of a red card.
Tunisian defender Radhi Jaidi announced last week he is ending his international career. The 31-year-old, who has 88 caps and played in two World Cups and four African Cup of Nations, said his decision was final. It was the result of Tunisia's disappointing World Cup campaign and the surprising goalless draw in a recent African Cup of Nations qualifier with Mauritius. Jaidi currently plays for English club Birmingham City.
Egyptian striker Mido has landed in hot water again, this time in the English Premiership. The temperamental player was slammed by his Tottenham coach Martin Jol for his "irresponsible and disrespectful" remarks about Sol Campbell, a former Hotspurs star who now plays for Portsmouth.
Mido called Campbell "one of the easiest defenders" he had ever played against. Portsmouth coach Harry Redknapp said Mido's comments were "arrogant" and "an insult". Redknapp also promised to stick the Egyptian's statement on the wall of his team's dressing room as an incentive for his players to beat the Hotspurs.
Tottenham won the game 2-1, though Mido did not play.
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