USMA edge out Asec to make CAF Champs League final

Algeria’s USM Alger have progressed to the final of the TotalEnergies CAF Confeder­ation Cup after edging out Asec Mimosas 2-0 at the Stade 5 Juillet in Algiers on Wednesday.

The victory at home soared the Algerians through to face Tan­zania’s Young Africans (Yanga), with the first leg having ended in a barren draw last week.

This is USMA’s first continental final since 2015 when they played in the final of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League.

Khaled Bousseliou and substi­tute, Abdelfetah Belkacemi, scored the goals for USMA in either half for them to fly into the final.

Bousseliou scored the opener after 28 minutes when he picked the ball from a throw-in, turned his marker inside out in the box before planting the ball in the bottom corner with a curled finish.

The goal came just two minutes after the hosts had missed a glori­ous chance when the Asec keeper clashed with his own defender as he went for an aerial ball, but Saadi Radouani volleyed the rebound over.

The Algerians came inches close to the second in the 35th minute when Aimen Mahious glanced a header from Bousseliou’s cross, but the Asec keeper made a smart low save. A minute later, Tumisang Orebonye had a shot from range

 deflected wide.

In the second half, the Ivorians came back a stronger side as they played with pace and pressure, forcing USMA to defend deep. Three minutes after the restart they were almost gifted the equaliser when keeper, Oussama Benbot, cleared the ball against his own player, but luckily the ball rolled just wide.

Asec dug in to their energy re­serves to push for an equaliser, but they couldn’t break through a tight USMA backline.

With 10 minutes to go, the Alge­rians sealed the match in traditional route one form. A long lob from keeper Benbot landed on the path of Belkacemi who had just come on and with the Asec keeper off his line, simply lobbed the ball beyond him to wrap up the game.

The Ivorians could not land a response and the home side, pushed on by a massive crowd, and ensured they saw off the result to book a place in the final. – CAF Online

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