Brave Stars lose in Cairo
Posted: 11 May 2008 Time: 20:47
Platinum Stars are out of the CAF Champions League after bravely going down 2-0 to Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in Cairo on Sunday night.
Leading 2-1 from the first leg a fortnight ago, Stars were hopeful of pulling off a major shock in Africa’s premier club competition, but second half goals from Emad Moteab and Flavio ensure a 3-2 aggregate defeat.
Tycoons coach Miguel Gamondi was confident prior to the game that he had a game-plan that would frustrate the home side in front of their fanatical fans.
And so it proved in the first half as Stars soaked up the pressure to go into the break at 0-0, and still ahead in the tie.
Moteab should have opened the scoring when he controlled a low cross from Mohamed Barakat midway through the first half, but his hesitation allowed Stars to clear.
Simba Marumo had a rare opportunity for Stars in the 28th minute when he side-stepped Shadi Mohamed inside the area, but his shot hit the side-netting.
Moteab looked dangerous again when he chested Hossam Ashour's chip on the edge of the area, but his low shot that was tipped to safety by Wayne Sandilands in the visitors’ goal.
Flavio also came close in the 33rd minute when he put his header from a superb Gilberto cross just wide of the post.
But Moteab finally broke the deadlock five minutes after halftime when another Flavio header from a Gilberto cross struck the bar and fell into the path of the Egypt striker, who slotted home into an empty net.
And on 68 minutes Flavio got ahead of Sandilands at the near post to head home the excellent Gilberto's in-swinging cross from the left flank.
But credit to Stars, who continued to attack in search of a goal that would level the tie on aggregate. It was not to be, however, and Ahly, who won the competition in 2005 and 2006, and lost in the Final last year to Etoile du Sahel, will now be looking for a record-breaking sixth continental championship.