Ghanaian Antwi rescues Egyptian big spenders Pyramids

Johannesburg (AFP) –


Ghanaian John Antwi rescued big-spending Egyptian club Pyramids Sunday by scoring the goal that took them into the CAF Confederation Cup play-offs.

He struck after 57 minutes to give his team a 1-0 away win over CR Belouizdad of Algeria and a 2-1 overall victory after a drawn last-32 first leg in Cairo.

It was a close call for the highly ambitious Egyptian outfit as they would have been eliminated from the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League had the return match finished goalless.

Antwi has scored three goals in the Confederation Cup this season having bagged a brace in a comfortable home win over Etoile of Congo Brazzaville in the preliminary round.

Pyramids join 15 other Confederation Cup last-32 winners and 16 CAF Champions League last-32 losers in two-leg play-offs during October with the victors securing group-phase places.

Recently appointed France-born Pyramids coach Sebastien Desabre spelt out the importance of the second-tier African competition ahead of the visit to Algiers.

"My first goal this season is to compete for the Egyptian league title and my second is to win the CAF Confederation Cup," he said.

When a Saudi bought Egyptian top flight club Al Assiouty Sport last year, he changed the name to Pyramids and funded numerous transfers before selling the team to an Emirati.

- Spending spree -

The spending spree continued after Desabre was hired having taken Uganda to the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations this July for the first time in 41 years.

Defeat by Belouizdad would have been a major setback for a club determined to challenge traditional giants Al Ahly and perennial rivals Zamalek for top spot in the Egypt league.

Record three-time Confederation Cup winners CS Sfaxien of Tunisia made a shock exit after only drawing 0-0 at home to African rookies Paradou from Algeria, who led 3-1 from the first leg.

Based in Mediterranean industrial city Sfax, the Tunisian club won the competition in 2007, 2008 and 2013 and were runners-up to FUS Rabat of Morocco in 2010.

A black day for Tunisia, whose clubs have won the Confederation Cup a record five times, was completed by the dramatic elimination of US Ben Guerdane.

They beat Bandari of Kenya 2-1 through two goals from Brazilian Ricardo Pereira, but lost 3-2 on aggregate having suffered a two-goal first leg loss in Nairobi.

With the tie deadlocked at 2-2, just one minute remaining and a penalty shootout looming, William Wadri netted for Bandari to take them into the October 9 play-offs draw in Cairo.

Enugu Rangers of Nigeria overcame an early shock to defeat Pelican of Gabon 3-1 and advance 4-3 on aggregate.

Trailing 2-1 after the first leg, Enugu fell further behind by conceding after four minutes at home before goals from Ifeanyi George, Nnamdi Egbujor and Olasunkanmi Oluwoyin saved the day.