USM Alger face tough test against Iraqi side

USM Alger begin their Arab Champions Cup campaign with a trip to Iraq, where they will face Al Quwa Al Jawiya. The first leg of this first round encounter takes place in Karbala on August 8th, with kick-off at 5pm.

With the opposition relatively unknown to Algerians, we got some great insight from Soccer Iraq about USMA’s opponents:

Their manager is Radhi Shenaishil who used to play for them back in the day and he recently managed Iraq’s national team to the semi-final of the Asian Cup in 2015. They have a deadly front three of Amjad Radhi, Hammadi Ahmad and Emad Mohsin although recently they usually leave one of them on the bench instead of playing all three.

Emad is a promising young forward, quick, calm on the ball and a good finisher but for the past few months he has been struggling for form and only scored a few goals last season. Hammadi and Amjad are ageing but very experienced and always bag a lot of goals every season, both have more than 100 goals in the Iraqi League already in their careers. Amjad is very good in the air while Hammadi is best at being in the right place at the right time and scoring goals from inside the box.

They recently signed one of the best wingers in Iraq, Ali Husni, who is skilful and quick. Central midfield is probably their weakest point, although they do have some decent foreign players there. Their defence is statistically the second-best in the Iraqi League, and they have a very experienced backline.

Overall, Al Jawiya are one of the best four teams in Iraq. They won the league in the 2016/17 season and came second last year, but were unable to compete in the AFC Champions League due to licensing issues.

Constantine have one hand on Algerian title with late winner

CS Constantine took a huge step closer to the 2017/18 Algerian league title with a late winner in their 2-1 win at home to USM Alger.

Chamseddine Rahmani made two fantastic saves in the first half to keep the hosts in the game, with USMA dominating the opening exchanges.

But towards the end of the first half, Ayoub Abdellaoui was shown a straight red card for pushing an opposition player to the ground.

Despite going down to ten men, it was the visitors who took the lead. A brilliant finish in the 51st minute by Oussama Darfalou, who is now the top scorer in the league, scored his 14th goal of the season.

However, just one hour later CSC were level thanks to an own goal by substitute Redouane Cherifi to level the game.

Rahmani made another brilliant stop to deny Darfalou, but there was more controversey late on as USM Alger were down to nine men.

Raouf Benguit, who is on loan from Paradou, was shown a second yellow card for dissent. Constantine made the most of it and won the game in added time. 

A 95th minute header by Hedi Belameiri sealed a crucial three points and takes them six points clear at the top of the table with just four matches remaining.

Points shared in thrilling Algiers derby

Algiers rivals USM Alger and MC Alger drew 2-2 and effectively ended both their hopes of winning the league, in front of a sold out Stade du 5 Juillet.

There was an unbelievable start to the match as Oussama Darfalou scored after just 19 seconds. Moroccan midfielder Reda Hajhouj supplied the striker with a brilliant pass, and finished superbly to give USM Alger the lead.

USMA then doubled their lead as the clock approached 20 minutes with a world class goal by Rafik Bouderbal. He dribbled past the Mouloudia defence and slotted home past Chaouchi to put his team 2-0 up.

Bouderbal was then forced to leave the pitch with a muscle injury in the first half. MC Alger then came back with some brilliant attacking play, and goalkeeper Mohamed Zemmamouche made some great saves to keep the score at 2-0 at half-time.

In the 52nd minute, Amir Karaoui thought he had scored but somehow Farouk Chafai managed to clear his shot off of the line. However, MC Alger pulled a goal back just minutes later thanks to a header by Sofiane Bendebka.

Controversy dominated the second half, and the referee awarded MC Alger a very soft penalty in the 70th minute. Walid Derrardja stepped up to take it, and Zemmamouche did amazingly well to save it.

Unfortunately for USMA, Abderrahmane Hachoud was there to score the rebound and make it 2-2. USM Alger were on the ropes, and received seven yellow cards in total as they looked to see the game out.

Derradja then rattled the crossbar in the 84th minute, but USMA held on for a draw and remain in 4th whilst MCA continue to sit in 3rd. Zemmamouche was undoubtedly the man of the match.

Algiers derby set to light up Algeria this weekend

USM Alger take on MC Alger in the Algiers derby this weekend on Saturday 24th February, with kick-off taking place at 4pm at the Stade du 5 Juillet stadium.

The two teams are separated by just two points, and both sides believe they still stand a chance of winning the Algerian League title despite just ten matches remaining in the division.

MC Alger sit in 3rd coming into this game, on 33 points and six points behind the league leaders CS Constantine, whilst USMA are 4th on 31 points.

USMA have lost only three of their last 15 Algiers derby games, and they will have the majority of the fans inside the ground as it is their home fixture this weekend.

Striker Oussama Darfalou should be fit in time for the weekend, however Abderrahmane Meziane and Faouzi Yaya are injury doubts for the game and face a race to be fit.

Mouloudia have less preparation for the big match as they had a mid-week game in the CAF Champions League against Congolese side AS Otoho, which also took place at the Stade du 5 Juillet.

A loss for either side would be devastating and surely end their hopes for the 2017/18 league title. You can follow live updates of the match on @DZFootball_en.

Algerians one game away from Champions League final

Algerian club side USM Alger are just one game away from reaching the final of the CAF Champions League, as they travel to Morocco to face North African rivals Wydad Casablanca.

Wydad will host the red and black outfit on Saturday the 21st of October at the Stade Mohammed V, with kick-off at 8pm.

The two teams drew 0-0 in the first leg at the Stade du 5 Juillet, giving USMA a good opportunity to progress to their second continental final in three years.

Oussama Darfalou is USMA’s top scorer in the competition, with five goals, and was rewarded with a call-up to Algeria for his recent good form.

A win for Paul Put’s team, or a score draw, will put them into the final where they will play either Egyptian team Al Ahly or Tunisian team Etoile du Sahel, meaning a North African team will win Africa’s most prestigious club tournament.

USMA have not played club football for a while, and had four players on international duty with the Algerian national team so they decided to postpone their recent Ligue 1 DZ fixtures to a later date.

Casablanca are looking to reach their third CAF Champions League final in their entire history, previously reaching it in 1992 and 2011.

The winners of the competition will qualify for the Club World Cup, potentially facing the likes of Real Madrid.

Good start for Algerian clubs in continental competition

The Algerian clubs involved in the continental African competitions have made a fantastic start to the knockout rounds of the tournaments.

In the African Champions League, USM Alger drew 1-1 in Mozambique away to Ferroviario Beira in what were some very tricky conditions.

The pitch was poor, but Oussama Darfalou gave the Algerians the lead with a great individual goal. It’s his 5th goal of the 2017 CAF Champions League, and 10th goal in his last 12 games for USMA.

Bein Sports

However, with the clock hitting 90 minutes, Ferroviario equalised with a header from Kanda that caught out goalkeeper Zemmamouche who was off his line. It’s a good result for USMA nonetheless, who have a key away goal going into the second leg on the 23rd of September.

Meanwhile in the CAF Confederation Cup, MC Alger beat North African rivals Club Africain 1-0 at the Stade du 5 Juillet.

Hichem Nekkache scored the only goal of the match in the 10th minute, firing into the far corner of the net.

Mouloudia dominated the possession, and probably should have scored a few more goals to increase their advantage. However, they defended well and stopped the Tunisian team, who had Algerian winger Ibrahim Chenihi in their side, scoring any away goals.

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