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VIDEO: Blues battle back to beat Tetouan 3-2 on Champions League debut
After the sacking of manager Helmy Toulan earlier this week, observers could be forgiven for doubting Smouha’s chances in their first ever foray into the continent’s premier football competition.
Moreover, the manner in which the hosts started the match almost served to prove that relieving a manger of their duties just before a major test is not the wisest of decisions; Mourtada Sergine Fall opened the scoring for the Moroccans in the 6th minute, scoring the rebound from a free-kick despite appearing to stand in an offside position.
The visitors then doubled their lead another six minutes later, as Ahmed Jahouh scored a fantastic half-volley on the turn from just under 40 yards out. The hosts looked dejected; it was far from a dream start to their maiden Champions League campaign.
Nevertheless, Mimi Abdel-Razek – the Alexandrians’ newly appointed coach – seemed to inject new life into his troops at the break, and it was all about corner kicks in the second half.
When the Blues lined up for a 66th-minute corner, few could have predicted that Salah Amin would be afforded acres of space from 16 yards out, and the striker’s weak shot crept past the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
The game was settled in favor of Smouha just over 10 minutes later, as Hermann Kouao’s quickfire brace stunned Tetouan late in the game.
The first of Kouao’s two goals was a rasping drive from close range after the ball fell to him inside the area during a corner.
Seconds afterwards, the Côte d’Ivoire forward headed home from yet another corner, to make it 3-2 and send his side’s supporters into raptures.