KCCA 1(3-2)2 El Merreikh

OdurEl Merreikh beat KCCA 2-1 at Namboole on Saturday but the Ugandan champions held on to advance to the Caf Champions League first round 3-2 on aggregate.

Tonny Odur gave coach George Nsimbe’s KCCA the lead as early as the seventh minute but Michael Kruger’s outfit rallied to level scores five minutes from the break thanks to Ahmed Elbasha’s spectacular strike.

Mohamed Traore scored Merreikh’s second, a rebound after KCCA goalkeeper Salim Jamal had saved his earlier kick from the penalty spot deep in the second half.

Both sides started with intent, KCCA midfielder Ivan Ntege receiving a high ball and evading a Merreikh player but his shot outside the 18-yard box was well saved by the visitors’ goalkeeper Akram Elhadi.

Moments later, it was KCCA goalkeeper Jamal called to action, the flashy shot stopper needing to pull off a spectacular save from fierce drive off a free kick.

But the scores couldn’t stay level for long, the hosts’ skipper Fahad Kawooya lifting a ball in and striker Tony Odur stealing behind two Merreikh players and lofting it over an advancing and hapless Elhadi in a seventh minute lead.

There were chances in between by both sides but it wasn’t until the 40th minute when Merreikh leveled, Elbasha stealing clear of the hosts’ backline inside the area and curling in a beauty from the left that went in from the underside of the top most corner for a 1-1 scoreline, and 3-1 on aggregate.

Both teams had gone into the break well aware of the task at hand. KCCA, having beaten Merreikh 2-0 away in Sudan last week, knew another goal conceded here at Namboole would leave the visitors needing one more to eliminate the Ugandans.

Merreikh on the other hand had to shut shop at the back and launch an offensive if they were to rescue their continental campaign.

KCCA had chances to put the tie beyond the visitors, Tom Masiko’s pinpoint header first tipped over the bar by Elhadi before the forward moments later took a Merreikh defender to the cleaners but only to sky his effort from six yards.

Merreikh will also look back ruefully to striker Shemels Bekele Godo’s wasted efforts, actually three of them, when clear to goal.

Kruger’s men did take the lead through Traore from the spot after defender Habib Kavuma fouled a Merreikh player inside the forbidden area but the hosts held on to progress to the first round.

KCCA will face Zambia’s Nkana, who beat Swaziland’s Mbabane 5-2 (5-4 agg), in the first round.

@ Supersport

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