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05 Dec 2011 13:38
Moroccan club Moghreb Fes won a first Confederation of African Football (CAF) title on Sunday by defeating Tunisian visitors Club Africain 6-5 in a penalty shootout climax to the two-leg Confederation Cup final.
Malian Moussa Tigana snatched his first goal in the competition since January three minutes into first-half stoppage time to give Moghreb a 1-0 victory that cancelled a first-leg loss by the same score in Tunis two weeks ago.
It was a heart-breaking outcome for veteran Africain coach Faouzi Benzarti, who was in charge of Tunisian giants Esperance last year when they lost the more prestigious CAF Champions League final.
The defeat also crushed Tunisian dreams of a CAF double as Esperance atoned this year by reaching a second consecutive Champions League final and scoring the lone goal of two tense tussles with Wydad Casablanca from Morocco.
Moghreb had defender Samir Zekroumi sent off an hour into the first leg and this time it was Club Africain who saw red with giant Chadian striker Ezechiel Ndouassel dismissed 30 minutes from full-time.
Ndouassel, one of the most promising young goal poachers on the continent, watched the first leg of the final from a stand because he was serving a suspension.
Goalkeeper Anas Zniti was the star of the shootout, blocking the seventh Club Africain attempt to the delight of most in a capacity 4 500 crowd at the Fes Sports Complex.
Moroccan and Tunisian clubs are now all square in the second-tier CAF club competition with three Confederation Cup titles each while teams from Ghana and Mali have been successful once.
Rabat clubs FAR (2005) and FUS (2010) were the other Moroccan teams to pocket the $660 000 winners cheque while CS Sfaxien (2007-2008) and Etoile Sahel (2006) brought the trophy to Tunisia.
Hearts of Oak from Ghana won the 2004 inaugural edition of a competition that replaced the CAF Cup Winners Cup and CAf Cup competitions and Malian outfit Stade Malien (2009) complete the list of title holders.
Apart from boosting their bank balance considerably, Fes have a mid-February Tunis date with Esperance in a one-off match for the CAF Super Cup that offers the winners $75 000 dollars.—AFP
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