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VIDEO: Sfaxien held at home by sturdy Leopards
Cesaire Gandze’s deflected strike gave the visitors the lead in the first half, before Ali Maaloul equalised with a penalty.
In what Sfaxien coach Paulo Duarte described as a “difficult game against an opponent with plenty of African experience”, Juventus Al Arab were aiming to get back on track after a 1-0 loss to Zamalek in their opening fixture, the same result Leopards endured, only the defeat came to Orlando Pirates.
Sfaxien XI: Jeridi; Derbali, Meryeh, Hannachi, Mohamed Ali Moncer; Hadda, Houssem, Mosrati, Maaloul; Borhen, Slim.
Leopards XI: Mohikola; Ndzana, Ngounga, Auzingoini, Bissiki, Ndey, Kalema, Gandze, Cisse, Mouzita, Babele.
Leopards thought they’d opened the scoring early on, but Mahamane Cisse’s goal was ruled out for offside; much to the relief of Duarte’s men.
Sfaxien though did not sit back and succumb to the away side’s early chances, as Slim Mezlini’s strike went inches wide of the post – minutes after Ali Maaloul’s strike was cleared by Boris Moubhio.
Despite the home side knocking on the door, it was Les Fauves de Niari who found the net first; Cesaire Gandze’s strike deflecting off Zied Derbali to make it 1-0.
The Dolisie-based side’s lead was short though, as they conceded a penalty early on in the second half, which was converted perfectly by Ali Maaloul.
Sfaxien were eager to get back on track after the loss to Zamalek, and should’ve taken the lead, only for Mezlini to miss a glorious opportunity.
Gandze though had the chance to make it 2-1 when he went one-on-one with Jeridi, but his finish failed to find the net.
Both sides now have one point from two games, with the second group match set to occur on Saturday afternoon in Nelspruit, when Zamalek visit Orlando Pirates.