The Orange CAF Champions League will have a new winner this year after holders ES Setif crashed out following a 3-0 loss to fellows USM Alger in their Group B Day Five clash on Friday in Algiers.
Goals from Youcef Bellaili, Kaddour Beldjilali and substitute Mohamed Amine Aoudia condemned Setif to their third defeat at the group phase and effectively killing their hopes of reaching the last four as a well as a successful defence of their crown.
The defeat to USMA in the all-Algerian affair was enough to earn Sudanese campaigners, El Merreikh a place at the semis ahead of their penultimate Group B match at bottom placed MC Eulma on Saturday in El Eulma.
With seven points, Merreik are certain to finish above Setif in the event of losses in the next two games, due to head-to-head advantage. The holders are third with four points and Eulma at the depth of the standings pointless. With a record of five win from five matches, USMA will finish as the top placed side in the group and will face the runner-up in Group A for a place at the final.
Needing nothing short of victory to keep their hopes alive, Setif were outplayed by their local rivals in the keenly contested clash, despite the latter already through to the next stage of the premier continental club championship.
The impressive start of the visitors saw USMA goalie saw Mohamed Zemmamouche deny Mohamed Benyettou twice in the opening minutes before the tide tilted the direction of the hosts.
Three minutes past the half-hour mark, Bellaili broke the deadlock, beating an offside trap to profit from a through pass from the middle before shooting past onrushing Sofiane Khedairia.

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