23.08.2015 13:35 h

Merrikh fightback earns historic victory

Al Merrikh of Sudan came from two goals behind to achieve an historic 3-2 CAF Champions League victory at Mouloudia El Eulma of Algeria this weekend.

It was the first away group win for the Omdurman outfit after five failed attempts during two campaigns in the premier African Football Confederation (CAF) club competition.

Success completed a joyous 24 hours for Merrikh, who qualified for the semi-finals without kicking a ball when second-place rivals Entente Setif crashed 3-0 at fellow Algerians USM Alger.

USM have 15 points after five Group B matchdays, Merrikh 10, title-holders Setif four and Eulma are pointless.

The Group A runners-up face USM in the semi-finals and Merrikh tackle the Group A winners when the chase for a $1.5 million (1.3 million euros) intensifies next month.

Four-time African champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo are favoured to win Group A with Moghreb Tetouan of Morocco and Al Hilal of Sudan seeking second place.

Surprise mini-league qualifiers Eulma were two goals ahead within 26 minutes at Stade Messaoud Zougar 336 kilometres (210 miles) east of the capital, Algiers.

The first was a classic route-one affair as Merrikh failed to deal with a long goal-kick and Younes Kadri chipped the ball over goalkeeper Omar Salim.

Slick passing from the centre circle then created an opening for Abdelmalek Abbes, who scored with a delicate lob over onrushing Ugandan Salim.

Alaa Eldin Yousif triggered the Merrikh fightback midway through the second half by nodding a cross into the corner of the net.

Within four minutes the visitors were level as Bakry 'Al Madina' Babiker swivelled inside the box to fire an unstoppable rising shot into the net after Eulma failed to clear a free-kick.

A blatant foul gave Merrikh a penalty and Babiker blasted the stoppage-time spot-kick into the net as the goalkeeper dived the wrong way.