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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Arab Club Champions Cup: Late charge gives Al-Hilal three goal advantage over Manama Club

The 2023 Arab Club Champions Cup started its First Qualifying Round this week and after Somalia’s Horseed FC and Djibouti’s AS Arta Solar 7 fell in the opening Preliminary Round, one of Africa’s top clubs got off to a strong start on Monday. Sudanese champions Al-Hilal Omdurman struggled to find a goal for most of their first leg matchup against Bahrain’s Manama Club but three goals in the final fifteen minutes saw Hilal ride a blue wave to a 3-0 victory. Fabrice Ngoma, Makabi Lilepo and Mohamed Abdelrahman all scored to give Florent Ibengé’s side a substantial advantage before the second leg in Bahrain set for April 10.

Hilal made their first breakthrough in the 77th minute when a sharp attack down the right flank led to a far post cross that found Abdelrahman, who laid a pass back for Ngoma’s low shot into the goal. Lilepo doubled Hilal’s lead in the 88th minute when he ran onto a lofted pass from the midfield and fired in. Abdelrahman was left with an easy finish in stoppage time after the hosts sprang a quick counter attack down the right wing and a cross found its way to the wide open talismanic striker.

Video of all three of Hilal’s goals are below. Three African clubs will play their first legs on Wednesday when Morocco’s ASFAR faces Al-Ittihad of Libya in an all-African clash while FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania takes on Jordan’s Shabab Al-Ordon. Algerian club JS Saoura will face Kuwait SC in the other matchup.