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Ethiopian ’Saints’ go marching on

Update: June, 05/2017 - 12:00
Sharpshooter Saladin Said scored his sixth CAF Champions League goal Sunday to take outsiders Saint George of Ethiopia closer to shock qualification for the quarter-finals. — Photo abbaymedia.com
Viet Nam News

Football

JOHANNESBURG — Sharpshooter Saladin Said scored his sixth CAF Champions League goal Sunday to take outsiders Saint George of Ethiopia closer to shock qualification for the quarter-finals.

The Addis Ababa outfit defeated off-form former champions V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 with the only goal coming on the hour in a packed 30,000-capacity stadium.

When a V Club defender lost possession inside his penalty area, the ball was squared for international striker Said to slam the ball into the roof of the net.

His six goals make him the leading scorer in the elite African club competition this season with one more than Sudanese Bakary al Madina of Al Merrikh and Libyan Muaid Allafi of Al Ahly Tripoli.

Securing maximum points after 0-0 draws with title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and twice champions Esperance of Tunisia lifted the "Saints" one place to second in Group C.

Esperance have seven points after winning 2-1 in South Africa Friday, Saint George five, Sundowns four and V Club are pointless following three consecutive defeats.

The Tunisians appear likely group winners with two of the three remaining fixtures at home, leaving Saint George and Sundowns to scrap for the second ticket to the knockout stage.

Group debutants Saint George host the defending champions on July 1 in a fixture sure to have a major bearing on the final standings.

Former champions Etoile Sahel of Tunisia surrendered the last 100 percent record in the Champions League this year when surprisingly held 1-1 at home by Al Hilal of Sudan.

Having beaten AS Tanda of the Ivory Coast twice to qualify and Ferroviario Beira of Mozambique and Al Merrikh of Sudan in earlier Group A matches, hosts Etoile were expected to carry on winning.

Defenders combined to put Etoile ahead on 57 minutes in Mediterranean resort Sousse with Rami Bedoui crossing and Zied Boughattas side-footing the ball into the net.

There was a hint of offside when twice runners-up Hilal levelled on 80 minutes with Mohammed Musa Idris breaking clear and chipping the ball over the goalkeeper before scoring.

Etoile have seven points, Ferroviario four, Hilal three and Merrikh one with three rounds to go.

The final fixture this weekend, between record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in Group D, will span two days. — AFP

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