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VIDEO: Bounedjah the hero as Etoile defeat Stade Malien
The lone goal of the game came in the second half through Baghdad Bounedjah’s towering header, to put the Red Devils top of Group A, awaiting the result of Al Ahly – Esperance on Saturday.
Etoile du Sahel XI: Balbouli; Jemal, Abderrazzak, Boughattas, Tej; Lahmar, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Alkhali Bangoura; Bounedjah, Mouihbi, Moussa.
Stade Malien XI: Diarra; Kone, Samake, Doumbia, Coulibaly; Traore, Moussa Coulibaly, Sissoko; Cisse, Bangoura, Mamadou Coulibaly.
Stade Malien had the chance to score early on via Mamadou Coulibaly, whose shot went wide of Aymen Belbouli’s post.
Djigui Diarra was called into action minutes later, tipping Hamza Lahmar’s free-kick over the bar.
Baghdad Bounedjah was put through on goal by the composed Alkhali Bangoura, but Diarra came out in the nick of time to claim the ball.
Bounedjah once again threatened the Bamako-based club, laying the ball off to the incoming Sofiane Moussa, but his header was clear by the Malien defence.
The start of the second half saw the Diables Rouges put their foot on the pedal. Ghazi Abderrazzak sent in a cross to Youssef Mouihbi but the latter could not wrap his foot around the ball.
Etoile had a glorious chance to go ahead minutes later through Mouihbi, who capitalised on a fatal error by Bourama Coulibaly, but his half-volley was saved by Diarra.
Belbouli made a crucial interception to deny les Blancs soon after, putting a halt to Moctar Mohamed Cisse’s surge on goal.
At the other end, Diarra once again made a top save, this time to deny Ammar Jemal’s powerful header.
However, Stade Malien’s resilience did not last long, with Etoile du Sahel opening the scoring through none other than Bounedjah whose header sent the city into ruptures.
Les Stadiens were reduced to 10 men five minutes later when Idrissa Traoure received a second booking for a challenge in the middle of the park.
The away side though could’ve snatched an equaliser late on, but Boubacar Bangoura’s curled strike went over the bar.