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CAFCC: USM Alger surge past ASFAR for comfortable first leg victory

In a quarterfinal battle between two serious contenders for the 2022-23 CAF Confederation Cup, USM Alger were in control on Sunday with a 2-0 first leg victory over Morocco’s ASFAR at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers. Saâdi Radouani opened the scoring close to halftime and Zinedine Belaid’s powerful second half header confirmed a pleasing result for the passionate home supporters. ASFAR will host the second leg next week in Rabat with a substantial deficit to overcome.

ASFAR, current leaders in Morocco’s Botola Pro, were able to match their hosts in the early stages but USMA were galvanized by their vocal supporters and gradually improved as the match wore on. The visitors came under increasing pressure and nearly conceded in devastating fashion when a 22nd minute bicycle kick attempt nearly came off for USMA striker Aymen Mahious.

A few minutes before halftime, USMA right back Radouani reacted quick to collect a poorly cleared Brahim Benzaza corner kick and fired a powerful shot into the top corner past ASFAR goalkeeper Ayoub Lakred to give the hosts a deserved halftime advantage. Despite possessing one of the best attacks in African club football, ASFAR struggled to find a way back into the match.

USMA took advantage of their momentum to double the lead in the 63rd minute through central defender and captain Belaid, who was unmarked as he jumped to meet Benzaza’s corner kick with a header that had too much power for Lakred. ASFAR showed more initiative in the final fifteen minutes but could not find a valuable away goal and suffered a further blow when star forward Reda Slim was sent off for a cynical challenge on Mahious in the final moments.

Highlights from the first leg are below.

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