USM climbs to second place in Tunisian championship
By Mona Yahia for Magharebia in Tunis – 30/10/07
In Round 8 of Tunisia's Premier League championship, played Saturday and Sunday (October 27th and 28th), ties by Esperance and Club Africain allowed Union Sportive Monastirienne (USM) to climb to second place following the team's 2-1 defeat of CS Hammam-Lif.
Esperance tied 2-2 with La Marsa and Club Africain tied 1-1 in a match against Olympique Béja.
USM rose from fourth place to second with 16 points, trailing leaders ES Sahel with 19 points and one match remaining against bottom-ranked Stade Tunisien with 4 points.
In El Menzah Stadium, La Marsa nearly grabbed the match point from hosts Esperance, who had opened scoring with Kamel Zaiem's goal in the 33rd minute. La Marsa's Mohammed Babai and Daou Bakrai scored in the 71st and 90th minutes, respectively, but Mouin Chaabani equalised in injury time, leaving the final result 2-2.
Following the match, Marsa coach Kais Yakoubi admitted that his team wasted the win. "We opted to defend on our field and we were sure that Esperance would score; which they did. After that goal, we were set free and the rise to offence began," he said.
Esperance Assistant Coach Maher Kanzari said, "we managed to score in the first half, but in the second half, several things changed." Marsa now occupies ninth place with 11 points.
In their match against Club Africain, Mohammed Bou Dabous scored first for Olympique Béja, but Zouhaier Daouedi tied the score with a header that hit Béja's Akram Sassi before it drove home in the 42nd minute.
Olympique Béja occupies tenth place with eight points on two wins, two draws and four defeats, while Club Africain fell to third place alongside Esperance with 15 points.
Olympique Béja Coach Mohammed Koki said, "The first half was even although the turf was quite wearisome to the players. In the end, a draw point is a positive one."
Elsewhere in the tournament, ES Zarzis suffered a defeat at home against El Gawafel Sportives de Gafsa (EGSG).
Algeria's Soufian Attaf scored first for EGSG, but Zarzis' Sadik Jabnoun tied the score before Baba George scored the winning goal for Gafsa in the 83rd minute. Gafsa is in sixth place with 12 points, while ES Zarzis ranks 11th with five points.
Jendouba Sport won their second match in a row, 1-0, in a home game against AS Gabès. Jendouba is tied in sixth place with 12 points.
CA Bizertin was the second biggest beneficiary from this round following their 3-2 Saturday win against CS Sfaxien. CA Bizertin now ranks fifth with 13 points, while CS Sfaxien is in sixth place with 12 points.
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