Tuesday, 27 March 2012


APR FC were held to a 0-0 draw by Tunisian side Etoile Sportive du Sahel in their first leg of the last sixteen in the Orange CAF Champions League on Saturday afternoon.
Arab clubs have always excelled in Africa’s most important club competition and the build up to the game was filled with praises and honors Etoile has managed to achieve, having been crowned champions in 2007 after beating Egyptian giants Al Ahly. On the other hand the only close APR have ever gone is the quarter finals in 2004 when they lost in a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Ivory Coast’s Club Africain.

However like they say, football changes and so does its predictability. The first half was full of wasted opportunities for both sides, though it is APR who may feel more aggrieved after spurning a handful of fine chances in both halves with Olivier Karekezi, Dan Wagaluka and Fat Papy all guilty of missing clear cut chances to put the army side in front. Etoile’s approach to the tie was characterized by a tightened defense, a typical style of Arab clubs when they play away to the-so-called more physical and less tactical teams of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Karekezi Olivier left was a constant menace to ESS defense Rwanda : APR HELD AT AMAHORO STADIUM
Karekezi Olivier (left) was a constant menace to ESS defense

But that did not deter them from making their attacking presence felt and in the first half Jazir Lassad almost caught APR’s defense unaware when he was sent clear, his shot only hitting the side net. The second half was no different though both teams made tactical substitutions with APR coach Ernie Brandts bringing on Douglas Lopez Carneiro for Kabange Twite and Diego Oliviera Alves for Ndikumana Selemani. The changes were attack-oriented perhaps to counter the earlier substitutions done by his counterpart ESS Bernd Krauss who had brought on Belaid Aimen for Sassi Mossab, Nanouchi Hamed for Jaziri Lassad and Barry Elhadji Ousmana for Mengolo Justin Junior in the last minutes, to strengthen his defense and hang on to what could be a crucial draw for the Arab side when they meet in the return leg in Tunisia in two weeks’ time.

APR will have to win if they want to advance to the last eight. A draw of a higher margin than 0-0 will also see them through many pundits have already predicted APR will crash out if history of APR’s past performances in Arab countries is anything to go by.


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