USM Alger, Al Merreikh battle for first in CAF Champions League

USM Alger, Al Merreikh battle for first in CAF Champions League
USM Alger fans

by Staff Reporter

Tuesday Jul 07, 2015. 20:03

USM Alger will host Al Merreikh in Algiers on Friday, in their 2015 CAF Champions League second Group B outing.

Both sides got their continental campaign off to a winning start, with the Sudanese giants seeing off MC El Eulma 2-0 in Omdurman, while USMA enjoyed a 2-1 away win over defending champions and fellow Algerians ES Sétif.

READ: Al Merreikh too strong for MC El Eulma

READ: USM Alger stun African champs Setif

And the winners could run away at the top of the group on maximum points.

To fulfil their ambition, Al Merreikh coach Diego Garzitto has called for improvement, as he was not fully satisfied with his side’s opening performance.

“I am pleased with the win but not with the fitness of my players. We need to work harder in order to improve. We wasted many chances,” Garzitto said following their victory over MC El Eulma.

The Sudanese will head to Algeria on Wednesday, in the absence of keeper Ihab Zaghbir and suspended midfielder Alaâ Eddine Youssef.

Meanwhile, USM Alger couldn’t hope for a better start to their continental journey, with a major upset on the ground of the Africa champs.

“The most important was to enjoy a good start in this group stage. But we need to get back to work to get even better,” USMA caretaker coach Miloud Hamdi said.

However, the ‘Red and Black’, who will be without suspended midfielder Zineddine Ferhat, want to keep a cool head ahead of their clash with Al Merreikh, as they know the road is still long.

“It is always good for confidence to win away from home,” USMA defensive midfielder Hocine El Orfi told Le Buteur.

“But we mustn’t forget it is only the beginning of the competition. There are five games remaining and if we fall in the next one we are back to square one.

“It is going to be very difficult for us as the other teams will be eager to beat us. But as we had a good start, we will try to reach our objective and go through to the next round.

“We need to confirm against Al Merreikh so we cannot say we defeated ES Sétif by chance. Our opponents will also come for the win as this is a battle for first place.”

It will be the first meeting between the two sides in a CAF competition.

The game will kick off at Stade Omar Hamadi at 23h30 CAT on Friday 10 July 2015.




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