CAF Confed Cup: UMS Alger lift trophy 86 years after

CAF Confed Cup: UMS Alger lift trophy 86 years after

After 86 years of waiting, USM Alger have finally won a major trophy on the African continent. Although the Algerians lost the return leg at home to Young Africans (0-1), their victory in Tanzania in the first leg (1-2) enabled them to lift the 2023 CAF Cup.

African recognition at last for USM Alger. Ever since the club was founded on 5 July 1937, its supporters have been waiting for continental recognition. The wait has been long, very long indeed. Until now, USM Alger had only played in one CAF Champions League final. That was in 2015. Even though USM had won the UAFA (organised by the Arab leagues) in 2013. Otherwise, there have been no major titles for the Algerian outfit, who have just put an end to their long spell in the wilderness.

Despite losing 1-0 at home on Saturday 3 June in the second leg of the CAF Cup final, USM Alger had already done the hard work in the first leg (a 1-2 win) away to Young Africans in Tanzania.

The red-and-black crowd were in full communion with their heroes at the end of a tense match in which the Tanzanians kept up the pressure on their hosts until the end of the 8-minute stoppage time at the end of normal time.

Young Africans' Djuma Shabani got his side off to an early start. He won a penalty in the 7th minute. After that, it was all about nerves. Faced with whistles that could pierce any eardrum, Shabani managed to win the psychological battle. He fired past Oussama Benbout into the top right-hand corner of the goal. 1-0. USM Alger were stunned.

A missed penalty sends USM into a tailspin
The Algerians went into half-time trailing by a goal. They came back with more arguments and sounded the charge. USM were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute. But Zineddine Belaid missed a huge opportunity to equalise. Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra made a superb save from this shot towards the left corner of the goal.

Nothing further. No more goals were scored. USM hit the target 16 times for 5 shots on target, compared with 7 for the visitors (3 shots on target). The Algerians led 62 dangerous attacks compared to 56 for the Tanzanians. Young Africans just missed out. USM did well to win their first major African trophy.

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