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CR Belouizdad sneaks out of Botswana with three points thanks to late winner against Jwaneng Galaxy

A magical substitute shift for Kheiredine Merzougui made all the difference for Algerian club CR Belouizdad as they earned a crucial three points on the road in their 2-1 victory over Motswana club Jwaneng Galaxy in CAF Champions League action on Saturday. Merzougui’s two second half goals, including a winner just before full time, move CRB to five points and a tie with Tunisian giants Espérance at the top of Group C. With only one point from their three games, Galaxy need a revival in the second half of their schedule to dream of the CAFCL knockout stages.

The first half was a struggle for the hosts from Botswana as CRB did well to keep the ball and restrict Galaxy’s opportunities. CRB attempted to obtain an early goal and had a couple of early looks in the opening 20 minutes, but Jwaneng Galaxy goalkeeper Anthony Gouws did well to handle a couple of firm strikes without conceding a rebound.

Most of the match featured few clear chances, but the second half featured more action as Galaxy attempted to push and make their home advantage count. Unfortunately, a moment of sublime quality from the visitors led to the opener for Merzougui in the 77th minute. A floated through ball was well measured for Merzougui as he made a run into the Galaxy penalty area and his first touch was sublime before lifting a finish over the advancing Gouws.

Galaxy were not deterred by the concession and soon after equalized in the 84th minute. Left back Thabang Mooketsi lofted a ball towards the far post and the headed clearance from CRB was not convincing, with the ball falling to Gilbert Baruti before he unleashed a low shot that bounced through a crowd of CRB defenders to leave keeper Ahmed Abdelkader with no chance as it rolled inside the far post.

However, in their attempts to push for a win, Galaxy lost their focus on the defensive end and CRB stole the full three points in dramatic fashion. CRB right back Mokhtar Belkhiter struck a hopeful shot that ricocheted off a Galaxy defender, throwing Gouws off enough for him to only save the ball right in front for Merzougui to crash in and blast the rebound home in the final seconds.

Highlights are below.

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