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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

CAF Champions League: Ethiopian champions Saint George open the competition with first leg victory away from home

The 2023-24 CAF Champions League got underway with the opening match of its first round on Friday at the Chamazi Stadium in Dar es Salaam and it was Ethiopian champions Saint George who came out on top with a 2-1 victory over Zanzibar’s KMKM FC. The visitors found goals from Beneyam Demte and Natnael Zeleke before hosts KMKM responded with a second half penalty kick from Salum Salum. The teams will meet again for the second leg in Addis Ababa on August 27.

KMKM, the dominant club in Zanzibar coming off two consecutive top division titles, were eager to make an impression and showed signs of challenging their more pedigreed opponents. However as the first half wore on with few opportunities for either side Saint George showed their class and found the net close to halftime. An intricate team movement on the right wing opened up space for a low cross that found the run of Demte who fired a low shot into the goal.

The Horsemen took advantage of poor set piece defending to double their lead close to the hour mark. A corner kick from the left wing saw the KMKM goalkeeper miss his attempt to play the ball and Zeleke was waiting to head into an unguarded goal.

The hosts from Zanzibar proceeded to push forward for the final thirty minutes and received a stroke of good fortune when a corner kick went off the arm of a Saint George defender in the penalty area. Salum stepped up to fire his spot kick past Saint George keeper Bahiru Negash for KMKM’s only goal to bring to Addis Ababa where the Zanzibari champions face a difficult task to overturn the deficit.