By: Amjad Mustafa Amin
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) – Sudan's football giants Al- Hilal and Al-Merreikh drew 1-1 Friday evening within the CAF Champions League, Group Stage.
The match was played at al-Hilal Stadium in Omdurman.
Aiz Shibola scored for al-Hilal in minute 31 of the first half, cashing on a confusion in the Merrikh defenses. Left winger Sammani al-Sawi equalized for his side in minute 16 of the second half.
Experts have condemned the two teams performance at the match as below expectations.
Coach Mohamed al-Tayyib (widely known by his nickname Morhino) said that although the match was in an advanced stage of Africa’s major contest, it had carried the symptoms s of local matches due to the low profiles exhibited by the two teams.
Tayyib has attributed this bad showing to what he termed “external factors that usually influence the two teams performance.”
“The match could not come out in the necessary shape due to the psychological warfare waged by each of the two clubs media,’’ Tayyib, who coaches the Sudanese premier league team al-Gadarif Police, explained.
He referred to the media of each club which in anticipation of the sensational event had continued to mobilize its fans. Calls were made for the fans of each team to head early to the stadium to support their side therefore the match attracted a huge crowd of fans.
Tayyib has named Forward Sammani al-Sawi (who equalized for Merriekh) and his teammate, Goalkeeper Jamal Salim as the best in the Merriekh side.
He said these two had shone in the match as compared with some other aging players in the Merriekh side who were very slow, thus allowing the al-Hilal players to dominate the match, in particular during the first half and part of the second half.
“Coaches Nabeel al-Kuki of the al-Hilal side and Diego Gharzitto of al-Merriekh need to perfect their work more if they want to advance in this context,” Tayyib further advised.
Former Captain of al-Hilal during the 1980s Mustafa al-Nagar considered the draw “not good for either team.”
Nagar criticized the al-Hilal players for failing to control the ball, a matter that allowed al-Merriekh side to return to the game atmospheres and equalize at an early stage of the second half.
By this draw al-Merrikh has ranked second in this group (GroupA) with a goal difference from al-Hilal (the host team) that comes third at this stage of the Group’s contest. The group is now topped by the Etoile Sportive Du Sahel of Tunisia that, same day, crushed Ferroviário da Beira of Mozambique 5-0 in a match played in Tunis.
The two arch-rivals have qualified for this stage after disqualifying Port Louis of Mauritius and Rivers United of Nigeria, respectively.
Both teams are within Group (A) of the African Champions League that also includes the powerful Etoile Sportive Du Sahel of Tunisia and Ferroviário da Beira of Mozambique.
The two teams had in 2015 reached the semifinals of this contest. Al-Hilal had reached the contest‘s semifinals several times before and had reached its final match once. Al-Merreikh did not appear very much in the contest’s semi-finals before. However, the club had won the African Confederation Cup in 1989. Al-Hilal, though showing very well in the African contests, had failed to win any of the CAF contests so far.
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