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CAFCL: CR Belouizdad hold off Al-Merrikh to snatch second place in Group D

Mohamed Belkhir’s first half strike was enough for Algerian champions CR Belouizdad to secure a 1-0 home victory in Algiers over Sudan’s Al-Merrikh in Group D action from the CAF Champions League on Tuesday. The forward from Algeria’s 2022 African Nations Championship team produced an opportunistic finish to help CRB overtake Merrikh for second place in the group with six points from four matches, three behind group leaders Espérance ST. Al-Merrikh are still in contention along with Egyptian club Zamalek on four points each with two games remaining.

After falling to Merrikh two weeks ago in Libya and previously suffering a heartbreaking home defeat to Espérance, a victory was essential to keep CRB in good position for a top-two spot and qualification for the quarterfinals. The performance was not overly convincing for the Algerian club but they were more adventurous which created the game’s only goal in the 35th minute. Anayo Iwuala went on a determined dribbling run through a crowd of Merrikh defenders and when the ball was tackled away from the Nigerian forward it fell to Belkhir who applied a clinical finish past goalkeeper Mohamed Mustafa.

The match was not the most entertaining for viewers with long stretches featuring defensive football but the action picked up towards the end. Belouizdad goalkeeper Alexis Guendouz finally had to make a save in the 70th minute when he tipped away Brayan Angulo’s strike, which was Merrikh’s best opportunity as the Sudanese side failed to overcome the deficit.

Highlights from the match are below.

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