USM Alger lift CAF Cup despite home loss to Young Africans

What you need to know:

  • The teams drew 2-2 on aggregate and the north Africans triumphed on away goals after winning the first leg 2-1 in Dar es Salaam last Sunday

Johannesburg. USM Alger became the first Algerian winners of the CAF Confederation Cup despite losing 1-0 at home to Tanzanian club Young Africans on Saturday in the second leg of the final.

The teams drew 2-2 on aggregate and the north Africans triumphed on away goals after winning the first leg 2-1 in Dar es Salaam last Sunday.

USM succeeded after fellow Algerian clubs Entente Setif, Mouloudia Bejaia and JS Kabylie lost previous finals in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

It was a hollow triumph, though, and not what a partisan crowd who filled all but a few rows of main-stand seats in the 65,000-capacity Stade 5 Juillet expected.

The supporters flocked to the national stadium hoping the local side would maintain a perfect record in Africa this season having won all seven home matches en route to the final.

Instead, they saw Young Africans made a perfect start with Djuma Shabani, one of three changes to the first-leg team, calmly convert a seventh-minute penalty to put the visitors ahead.

But the east Africans barely threatened to score again in a match delayed briefly in each half when smoke from flares lit by supporters drifted across the pitch in Algiers.

USM squandered a great chance to equalise on the night when a Zineddine Belaid penalty on 59 minutes was pushed way by Malian goalkeeper Djigui Diarra.

Hostile environment

The Mauritanian referee, who excelled in a hostile environment, pointed to the spot after only five minutes when Saadi Radouani pushed Kennedy Musonda in the back.

With green lasers pointing at his face and the crowd whistling, Shabani sent goalkeeper Oussama Benbot the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Aymen Mahious, who angered the referee and Young Africans with theatrics that led to a yellow card, came close to levelling on the half hour with a header that was just off target.

Young Africans star Fiston Mayele was poised to score at the other end only to be foiled by a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Adam Alilet.

Diarra made an excellent save in first half added-time after a clever free-kick manoeuvre from USM almost caught the visitors napping.

USM got their chance to score from a penalty when Ibrahim Hamad fouled Tumisang Orebonye, a Botswana international and the only non-Algerian in the starting line-up.

But the kick from captain Belaid lacked height and Diarra guessed correctly, diving to his right to push the ball away, and then blocking an attempt to score off the rebound.

As rain that began early in the second half became increasingly heavy, the match became increasingly scrappy with neither goalkeeper seriously troubled in the closing stages.

USM pocketed a record two million dollars (1,865 million euros) for winning with the first prize increased this season from 1,250 million.