Confederation Cup: Holders Ahly lose group game to Etoile

Al Ahly win Confederation Cup
Al Ahly win Confederation Cup

Holders Al Ahly suffered their first defeat in this year's African Confederation Cup group phase, losing 1-0 away to Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel in Sousse.

Etoile went top of Group A, two points above Ahly, thanks to a controversial penalty from Youssef Mouihbi.

Egyptian TV replays showed no contact between Etoile attacker Baghdad Bounedjah and Ahly defender Mohamed Naguib in the first half penalty-area challenge.

But as Bounedjah fell, the referee pointed to the spot and striker Youssef Mouihbi sent Sherif Ekramy the wrong way to settle the match between two of the three most successful African football clubs.

The other Group A fixture between Tunisia's Esperance and Stade Malien had to be played to a finish on Monday after torrential rain in Bamako halted the contest with 49 minutes on the clock.

Esperance were leading 1-0 courtesy of a Samuel Eduok goal in the 23rd minute.

When the tie resumed, Esperance held on for a 1-0 victory to give the Tunisians their first points of the group campaign.

In Group B, goals from Thabo Rakhale and Menzi Masuku earned Orlando Pirates of South Africa a 2-0 victory over CS Sfaxien of Tunisia at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Slick passing involving Kermit Erasmus and captain Oupa Manyisa allowed rising star Rakhale to curl the ball into the top of the net after 37 minutes.

A long pass from Patrick Phungwayo enabled Masuku to sprint down the middle, hold off a challenge and slam the ball past goalkeeper Rami Jeridi.

Pirates failed to take several other scoring chances before goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo pulled off several late saves as Sfaxien sought a consolation goal.

The South Africans would have sealed a semi-finals place if leaders Zamalek of Egypt had avoided defeat on Sunday at AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville.

However, Zamalek fell to their first defeat of the group phase.

A goal from Tresor Mukenga in the 61st minute was enough for Leopards to inflict a 1-0 defeat on the Egyptian side.

The result throws the group wide open with two matches left to play.

Group winners and runners-up qualify for the semi-finals.