African Champions League: Match abandoned in Egypt because of crowd trouble

The African Champions League trophy
The African Champions League trophy

An African Champions League match was abandoned on Friday in Egypt because of crowd trouble, in a stadium likely to be one of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations venues.

The Cameroonian referee halted the Group C match between hosts Ismaily and Tunisia's Club Africain in stoppage time after sections of the crowd threw water bottles onto the pitch.

There had been a number of crowd-related stoppages at the Ismailia Stadium before the premature end, with Club Africain leading 2-1.

Egypt were chosen this month as replacement Cup of Nations hosts after Cameroon were stripped of hosting rights due to poor preparation and security concerns.

Ismaily, who lost their first group match last weekend, took an early lead when Namibian Benson Shilongo converted a low cross.

But Ghazi Ayadi converted two penalties late in the opening half to turn the game in favour of Club Africain, who also lost their first group game.

The second spot-kick infuriated the crowd as the referee initially awarded a free-kick before altering his decision after consulting with an assistant.

Ismaily supporters became increasingly angry as the second half progressed and an assistant referee had to abandon his position with five minutes left after objects were thrown.

With pleas for calm from the coaching staff of the Egyptian club being ignored, the referee called the match off in additional time.

Elsewhere on Friday, a Karim Walid goal on 85 minutes earned record eight-time African champions Al Ahly a 1-1 draw away to group newcomers JS Saoura of Algeria in Bechar.

Sid Ali Yahia-Cherif had put the local club ahead just before the hour.

Egyptian giants Ahly top Group D with four points, but could be overtaken by Simba SC on Saturday if the Tanzanian outfit avoid defeat away to AS Vita Club from DR Congo.

Tunisia's Esperance continued their centenary celebrations with a 2-0 win over visitors FC Platinum of Zimbabwe in the African Champions League.

Esperance's Taha Khenissi
Taha Khenissi scored twice for title-holders Esperance of Tunisia against Zimbabwe's FC Platinum in the African Champions League

Taha Khenissi scored both goals for the title-holders to take them to four points from two games in Group B and leave Platinum on a single point.

His first goal came after 24 minutes as he found the space to fire home from 10 yards out despite being surrounded.

The win was sealed with the Tunisia international's second on 65 minutes.

Khenissi nodded home from close range after Cameroonian midfielder Franck Kom had headed the ball back across the area from a corner.

The match was played in an empty El Menzah Stadium in Tunis after the Confederation of African Football punished Esperance for the poor behaviour of their fans during last season's tournament.

Esperance had already been forced to move the game due to the ongoing redevelopment of their Rades Stadium.

Later on Friday, Orlando Pirates went top of Group B, above Esperance on goal difference, with a 3-0 win over Horoya of Guinea in South Africa.

Horoya, who were unlucky to only draw with Esperance last weekend, found it more difficult in South Africa as Zambian Justin Shonga scored twice in the second half after Thembinkosi Lorch had opened the scoring.

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