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Arab Club Champions Cup: CS Sfaxien overcome one-goal deficit to qualify for group stage

An assist and a late winning goal from Baraket Hmidi gave Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien the advantage as they overcame a 1-0 first leg defeat with a 2-0 second leg victory over Sudanese giants Al-Hilal Omdurman in the 2023 Arab Club Champions Cup. Friday’s result qualifies CSS to the group stage of the competition where they will compete with fellow Tunisian club Espérance ST as well as Iraqi champions Al-Shorta and Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia in Group A.

Despite being forced to play the home first leg at the venue of their opponents, Al-Hilal were able to win the first leg earlier in the week but faced the challenge of another duel at the Stade Hammadi Agrebi. Florent Ibengé’s squad did well to keep the CSS attack out of the goal in the first half and the match was scoreless when the halftime whistle arrived.

However it was a different story in the second half after Hilal forward Mohamed Abdelrahman put a threatening shot off the crossbar early on. Hmidi, brought on as a halftime substitute, found plenty of room on the right wing in the 63rd minute and sent in an accurate cross to a wide open Aziz Saihi at the far post. The left back made no mistake and produced a header that left Hilal goalkeeper Issa Fofana with little chance.

Late on with the match even on aggregate, CSS were able to find the winning goal in the 88th minute. Guinean forward Mohamed Kanté pounced to steal the ball from the Hilal defense and his low shot was saved by Fofana into the path of Hmidi who fired low past the scrambling goalkeeper to send the home support into delight. CSS will begin group play at the end of the month with a match against Al-Shorta in Saudi Arabia which will host all group stage matches.

Highlights from the second leg are below.

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