African Champions League: El-Merrikh and El-Hilal drawing 0-0 in Omdurman, Sudan
Sudan teams Draw in Saturday's Champion League Match
(Khartoum) – The opening match of the African Champions League began on Saturday with El-Merrikh and El-Hilal drawing 0-0 at El-Merrikh stadium in Omdurman.Click on 'CECAFA' label here below for previous news of footballing in Sudan.
It was an exciting match for fans of both sides given the rivalry between the teams battling for soccer supremacy in the country. There was a heavy presence of anti-riot police in and around the stadium. A sport columnist for Al-Ayaam newspaper, Badr eL-Din el-Basha, described the match to Sudan Radio Service.
[Badri El-din El-Basha]: “I’m happy that El-Merrikh and El-Hilal have reached this level. This shows that Sudanese football has gone on to higher level. The two teams have not reached this stage easily; it comes from the efforts of the administration, the club members, the bench and so on. They began playing this match under pressure. It is clear there was pressure from the media, fans and administrators. You can see the first half was played in a bad mood – without concentration, they did not execute the plans of their respective coaches. Yesterday (Saturday) they were playing under pressure.”
The first half began with El-Hilal dominating possession, forcing El-Merrikh to play defensively until in the eighteenth minute when El-Merrikh’s striker Kletchi Osunwa made a dramatic attempt to score from outside the penalty box. His shot was saved by El-Hilal’s goalkeeper Muwiz Mahjoub. El-Hilal kept on their pressure up to half-time but failed to make an impression on the score.
El-Merrikh’s bench apparently changed tack and they dominated the second half but failed to score. Nevertheless, the match result is in Hilal’s favor since they were playing away in group A of the African Champions League trophy.
Photo: Al Merreikh Stadium, Omdurman, Sudan (Merrikh - Red Castle/zerozerofootball.com)
Omdurman (Standard Arabic Umm Durmān أم درمان) is the largest city in Sudan and Khartoum State, lying on the western banks of the river Nile, opposite the capital, Khartoum. Omdurman has a population of over 3 million (2007) and is the national center of commerce. With Khartoum and Khartoum North or Bahri, it forms the cultural and industrial heart of the nation.
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