CAIRO: A 1-0 loss at Tunisia’s Sfaxien on Saturday brought Petrojet’s first African experience to a premature end.
The Egyptian side, who were held to a 1-1 home draw in the first leg, bowed out of the Confederation Cup third round after a 2-1 aggregate defeat by the much more experienced Sfaxien.
Sfaxien secured the victory with seven minutes remaining via a fine effort from Chadi Hammami, who arrowed a right-footed shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.
It came in a controversial fashion though.
Ibrahima Toure appeared to have fouled Petrojet’s Mahmoud Samna in the build-up before sending in a low cross that was cleared by Mohamed Koffi into the path of Hammami, who beat keeper Ahmed Fawzi with a firm shot.
The referee further infuriated Petrojet players and coach Mokhtar Mokhtar when he ruled that Fawzi crossed the 18-yard box while launching a huge ball upfield, awarding a handball for the hosts.
TV replays showed that the official’s decision was incorrect. However, Petrojet did little to boost their chances of reaching the fourth round and edging closer to a place in the group stage.
Their only real opportunity fell to playmaker Walid Soliman, a long-term target for Egyptian champions Ahly, in the 83rd minute.
He cut inside his marker but his low shot was parried by the keeper. None of Petrojet players managed to make the follow-up as the chance went begging.
Petrojet played in an African competition for the first time in their history after finishing third in the Egyptian Premier League last season.
They are favorites to finish in the same position this term as they have a three-point lead over fourth-placed Ismaili with two matches remaining.