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Paul Put: USMA deserved to go to the final – 2017 CAF Champions League


USM Alger player Hammar Ziri (C) celebrates after scoring against Caps United during the 2017 CAF Champions League game between USM Alger and Caps United in Algiers, Algeria on 9 July 2017 © BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 24, 2017. 14:00


USM Alger coach Paul Put said his team exited the CAF Champions League “with regrets because we also deserved to go in the final”.

The Algerians were beaten 3-1 by Wydad Casablanca in the second leg of their semifinal in Morocco on Saturday night, to be bundled out of the continental competition by the same aggregate score.

According to USMA coach Put, his charges were the stronger side in the second half and only lost out because of missed chances.

“I remain convinced that we were clearly better in the second half. But the second goal was very difficult for us,” explained Put, as quoted by Le Buteur.

“Opportunities have been created and we have mostly lacked efficiency. It is true now that we were only one goal of the qualification because at 2-1, we could have added the second and kill this game.

“For the third goal, it was almost folded. It is clear that we leave this competition with regrets because we also deserved to go in the final.”

The Belgian, who enjoyed lengthy spells in charge of Gambia and Burkina Faso, refused to comment on his future with USM, but does not feel his job is under threat following the defeat.

“My future? Later we shall see,” he added. “In any case, I think that having reached the semifinals of the Champions League remains a good thing for a team.

“Are all the coaches who lose in the semifinals sacked? I do not think so. In any case, we will see what will be done tomorrow.”



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We must secure our semifinal spot – USMA midfielder Benguit – 2017 CAF Champions League


USM Alger player Hammar Ziri (C) celebrates after scoring against Caps United during the 2017 CAF Champions League game between USM Alger and Caps United in Algiers, Algeria on 9 July 2017 © BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Sep 18, 2017. 17:00


USM Alger must secure their place in the CAF Champions League semifinals before they worry about which team they will face, said midfielder Abderraouf Benguit.

The Algerian team are strong favourites to advance into the final four after drawing 1-1 away to Mozambican side Ferroviario de Beira in the first leg of the teams’ quarterfinal tie this past weekend.

The return leg at the 5 July Stadium in Algiers is set for Saturday evening, with the hosts expected to prevail and set up a meeting with either reigning African champions Mamelodi Sundowns or Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.

However, Benguit insists that USMA will still have to work hard to ensure they claim victory against Beira.

“The players of this team [Beira] are alive, they created some difficulties, so we must beware of it in the return match,” the midfielder told Le Buteur.

“They will have nothing to lose. They will also play without pressure, it will be able to release them and make them even more dangerous, so we will have to be vigilant.”

As for their potential semifinal opponents, Benguit believes it is something they will worry about only if and when they secure progression.

“To start, we will have to validate our ticket for the semifinals next weekend,” he explained.

“As for the opponent we wish to face, we have no preference. No matter the team, we will do whatever it takes to get to the end and reach our goal.

“We all know the importance of this trophy in the eyes of our supporters, for them, for all those who support us, we will fight thoroughly and until the last minute.”



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USMA down Zamalek to lead Group B


USM Alger players (R) fights for the ball with Zamalek players (L) during the 2017 CAF Champions League

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jun 22, 2017. 08:30


USM Alger defeated Zamalek 2-0 in a heated CAF Champions League clash early on Thursday morning to take control of their pool.

The result sees the Algerians top Group B on seven points, level with Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli, while Zamalek (five points) and Zimbabwe’s CAPS United (three points) complete the foursome.

The match at Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers saw USMA claim the lead on the stroke of half time through Reda Bellahcene.

Around the hour mark the feisty North African derby had a notable flashpoint when both Amir Sayoud (USMA) and Tarek Hamed (Zamalek) were sent off by South African referee Victor Gomes.

With both teams down to 10 men for the remainder of the game, USMA were able to add to their advantage late on when Abderrahmane Meziane netted in the 87th minute to complete a 2-0 victory.

The teams will return to Champions League action next weekend, with Al Ahli Tripoli hosting USM Alger, while CAPS United will battle Zamalek in Harare.



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