CS Constantine have moved to the top of Group C in the CAF Champions League after they held Ismaily 1-1 at the Ismaila Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Egyptian side were ejected from the competition for fan dis-behaviour in January, only to be reinstated earlier this month, and they have now racked up a first point, while their Algerian opponents move up to seven points and assume group leadership on head-to-head results against TP Mazembe.
Chances were few and far between in the first half, with Ismaily only managing to test Constantine goalkeeper Chemseddine Rahmani on one occasion – the only shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
The Egyptian side enjoyed the majority of possession but struggled to find the creative spark to break the Algerian visitors down, leaving the game locked 0-0 at half time.
The second half continued in a similar vein until Ismaily made a double change after the hour mark, introducing Ibrahim Abdel-Khaleq and Abdelrahman Magdy.
With their attack boosted, ‘El Daraweesh’ were soon able to break the deadlock, with Namibian forward Benson Shilongo netting in the 69th minute to give the hosts the advantage.
And the hosts looked set to claim all three points until deep in injury time, when Constantine’s pressure paid dividends as Emad Hamdy put the ball into his own net to see the game end 1-1.
The teams’ return game will be played at the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine next Saturday.
Ismaily SC (0) 1 (Shilongo 69’)
CS Constantine (0) 1 (Hamdy og 90+4’)
Ismaily: Noaman, Elgamal, Ibrahim, Youssef, Mansour, Ali, Helmy (Magdy 63’), Awadalla, Shilongo (Hashem 90+3’), Abdelaati (Khaleq 66’), Morsy
Constantine: Rahmani, Benyada, Lamri (Beldjilali 80’), Bencherifa, Arroussi, Yattou, Zaalani, Bahamboula, Belkacemi, Arouna (Belkheir 72’), Salhi