11 November 2012

Congo-Brazzaville/Sudan: AC Leopards Reach Confederation Cup Final

Photo: CAF
Congo's Athlétic Club Léopards de Dolisie of Congo held Sudanese side Al-Merreikh to a goalless draw.

Athlétic Club Léopards de Dolisie of Congo held Sudanese side Al-Merreikh to a goalless draw in the Orange CAF Confederation Cup semi-final 2nd leg in Omdurman on Saturday to win the tie on a 2-1 aggregate result and reach the final.

The visitors, who stunned the home team with superb performance. They ran a solid and tight defence well marshaled by a confident goalkeeper Lutunu Doule and frustrated the hosts. Leopards' forwards Brebcy Ndey Rudy, Kompo Poungui and Gandze Cesair forced the four Al-Merriekh defenders to stay back monitoring them thus preventing them from helping in launching attacks , a move that left midfield lacking assistance.

Saeed Mustafa Nasreldin Al-Shighel fought desperately to run the midfield but Leopards' Herman Lakolo and Ntcia Kalema were equally determined to control the midfield .

There were worrisome times for the hosts when Al-Merriekh's Egyptian goalkeeper Esam El-Hadary was called upon to make a brilliantly save from Grandze Cesair's surprising shot . Al-Merreikh had three attempts from Al-Shighel over the bar, Najmeldin shot from midfield and an attempt from Ahmed Al-Basha.

Leopards defense stood firm but there were chances on both ends which neither side could make count. Al-Merreikh's Brazilian coach Heron Ricardo introduced the veteran skipper and striker Faisal Al-Ajab, Ivorian striker Adiko and the playmaker Faisal Musa and Al-Merreikh's attacking improved but Lutunu and the defense line could not be beaten on the day.

Al-Merreikh kept coming at Leopards who looked content and assured as the game wore on and threatened to score too as the game opened up. El-Hadary was almost involved in another comically goal when his defender 's attempted pass was intercepted while the goalkeeper was way off his goalline. Luckily for the keeper and defender Gandzi's attempt from long which was on target hit the cross bar.

AC Leopards held on for a 0-0 draw and celebrated reaching the final when the final whistle went.

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