Champions League: Setif exit after defeat to USM Alger
Holders Entente Setif were eliminated from the African Champions League on Friday after a 3-0 Group B defeat at fellow Algerians USM Alger.
Setif's fate was sealed after Youcef Bellaili, Kaddour Beldjilali and Mohamed Amine Aoudia scored the goals to send the champions to their third defeat in the group stage of this year's tournament.
It means that Entente Setif cannot now qualify for the semi-finals, with one group game still remaining.
Setif's defeat also guaranteed Al Merreikh of Sudan a place in the last four, even before they clinched a 3-2 win away to Mouloudia El Eulma of Algeria on Saturday.
It was Merreikh's first away group win after five failed attempts during two campaigns in the premier African Football Confederation (Caf) club competition.
Surprise mini-league qualifiers Eulma were two goals ahead within 26 minutes through Younes Kadri and Abdelmalek Abbes.
Alaa Eldin Yousif triggered the Merrikh fightback midway through the second half by nodding a cross into the corner of the net.
Within four minutes the visitors were level as Bakry 'Al Madina' Babiker swivelled inside the box to fire an unstoppable rising shot into the net after Eulma failed to clear a free-kick.
A blatant foul gave Merrikh a penalty and Babiker blasted the stoppage-time spot-kick into the net as the goalkeeper dived the wrong way.
Group leaders USM have 15 points after five Group B matches, Merrikh 10, holders Setif four and Eulma are pointless.
The Group A runners-up will face USM in the semi-finals and Merrikh will tackle the Group A winners when the chase for the title intensifies next month.
On Sunday, Group A leaders DR Congo's TP Mazembe missed the chance of progressing to the last four as they lost 1-0 in Sudan to Al Hilal.
Athar Al Tahir scored the only goal of the game after just seven minutes.
Morocco's Mogrheb Tetouan beat visiting Smouha of Egypt 2-1 in the other Group B match on Sunday.
The results leave Tetouan, Hilal and Mazembe tied at the top of the group with eight points each going into the final round of matches.
Smouha remain bottom of the pool and cannot advance to the semi-finals.
In the final Group A matches Smouha host Al Hilal while Moghreb Tetouan travel to play TP Mazembe.
Under the tournament regulations if two or more sides are level on points at the end of the group stage the head-to-head record is used to decide who progresses.