Saint George joins the last 32 with flying colors


After an 8-0 victory, defending Ethiopian Premier League champions Saint George went through to the subsequent stage of the African Champions League with flying colors, while Dedebit, despite a return-leg home defeat, booked a place in the next stage of the Confederation Cup.
Back from a 3-0 first-leg away victory over Zanzibar champions Jamhuri, a return-leg home match, which many considered will be an easy job, turned out to be exactly like expected, sending the home crowd into a frenzy of celebration when the team found the back of the net on almost half a dozen occasions.
The opening goal was from fullback Alula Girma, who is not known for scoring goals, in the first half despite the visitors’ display of good defensive play. However, back from the dressing room, Yared Zenabu’s long range strike had the visitors’ goalie scrambling, but Josef scored the second goal from the rebound. Playmaker Shimeles Bekele bagged the third, followed by Abebaw Butako with his trademark goal from a neat free kick. For the first time, since his injury at the 29th African Cup of Nations final against Burkina Faso, Adane Girma came off the bench ten minutes before the final whistle to hammer the final nail into the coffin with a sensational flick of the ball.
With a 5-0 score line, Saint George progressed to the next stage with an aggregate 8-0 score line, to face Malian champions Djoliba FC in a fortnight’s time, with the first leg to be held in Addis Ababa.
In the meantime, Dedebit lost 2-1 at home to Central African cup holders Di Fatima, but went through to the next stage on goal difference. Overconfident after a first leg 4-0 away victory in Bangui, Dedebit hardly performed to the expectations of the home crowd.
Addis Hentsa’s own goal gave the visitors the lead, but he scored again, this time for the equalizer. The visitors grabbed a late winner to settle for a 2-1 second-leg score line. However, with a 5-2 aggregate result, Dedebit will go ahead and face Sudanese cup holders Al Ahly Shendi in two weeks’ time with the first leg taking place in Khartoum.