USM Alger crowned Caf Confed Cup champions

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  • Post published:June 4, 2023

USM Alger became the first Algerian to win. the Caf Confederation Cup despite suffering a 1-0 defeat to Young Africans in the second leg of the final.

The total score was 2-2, but the north African team won because they won the first leg, which took place last Sunday in Dar es Salaam, by 2-1.

Entente Setif, Mouloudia Bejaia, and JS Kabylie all lost in the finals of the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League before USM won.

It was a hollow victory, though, and not what the 65,000 fans in the main stand of Stade 5 Juillet expected.

Fans flocked to the national stadium in the hopes that the home team would keep its perfect record in Africa this season. On its way to the final, the team had won all seven home games.

Instead, they watched as Young Africans got off to a great start. Djuma Shabani, one of three new players from the first leg, calmly put the visitors ahead with a penalty kick in the seventh minute.

But the east Africans didn’t really have a chance to score again during the game in Algiers, which was stopped for a few minutes each half because of smoke from flares lit by fans.

USM missed a great chance to tie the game when Malian custodian Djigui Diarra pushed away a Zineddine Belaid penalty in the 59th minute.

When Saadi Radouani pushed Kennedy Musonda in the back after only five minutes, the referee from Mauritanian, who was good even in a bad situation, pointed to the spot.

Shabani scored a goal from the penalty spot even though green lasers were pointed at his face and the crowd was whistling.

Aymen Mahious angered the referee and Young Africans with his antics, which got him a yellow card. On the half-hour mark, he almost tied the game with a header that just missed the goal.

Adam Alilet made a great last-ditch tackle to stop Young Africans star Fiston Mayele from scoring at the other end.

In the extra time of the first half, USM almost caught the visitors off guard with a clever free kick move, but Diarra made a great save.

Ibrahim Hamad fouled Tumisang Orebonye, a Botswana international and the only player not from Algeria in the starting lineup, giving USM a chance to score from the penalty spot.

But captain Belaid’s kick didn’t have enough height, and Diarra guessed right, diving to his right to push the ball away and then stopping a try to score off the rebound.

As the rain that started early in the second half got heavier, the game got more and more rough, but neither custodian was really in danger in the last few minutes.

USM won a record $2 million (1,865 million euros) because the first prize was raised from $1,250 million to $2 million this season.

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