The eyes of Tunisian football fans will turn to the Olympic Stadium “Hammadi Al-Aqrabi” in Rades, next Sunday, May 8th, where Club Africain will meet its neighbor Esperance in the third round of the Tunisian Premier League (the coronation stage).
Esperance is currently in first place in the league table with 9 points, 3 points behind the second African, after two rounds have passed since the start of the coronation stage.
The “Capital Derby” will be led by referee Mahrez Al-Maliki, for the first time in his refereeing career, which actually started with the beginning of the 2009/2010 football season, and the first match he played in the Tunisian League was between the Bizertin club and Olympique Sidi Bouzid, and he has in his record – so far – 52 matches in the first division.
Al-Maliki, 35, was chosen among the list of international referees in 2019, and he participated in the Arab Championship for U-20 teams that was held in Saudi Arabia in the same year and in the African Youth Cup in “Mauritania 2021”. Al-Maliki will also manage the match that will bring between Cape Verde and Togo on June 7 in the second round of qualifiers for the 2023 African Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire.
Mahrez Al-Maliki managed 4 matches for the African in his arbitration history, and “Bab Al-Jadeed Club” won in one match, drew on one occasion, and was defeated in two matches.
The first time that the Maliki referee ran a match for the African on the occasion of facing the Tunisian stadium in the league championship, on October 6, 2018, and it ended with the team’s defeat with a score of 1-4. As for the second confrontation, it took place on January 24, 2021 and ended with its defeat as well. Against the future Soliman team, with a score (1-2).
Al-Maliki managed a match that brought African and his counterpart CS Sfaxien, in the framework of the final round of the Tunisian Cup, and ended in its original and extra time (0-0), before the “People’s Team” lost the title by penalty kicks (4-5).
The only victory for the African with the referee’s whistle was Mahrez Al-Maliki, on the occasion of facing Hilal Al-Shaba on April 13, with a score (1-0).
With regard to Esperance, the young referee managed two matches for the sheikh of Tunisian clubs, during which he won against Etoile Sportive de Metlaoui (2-0) on February 26, 2017, and against Club Bizerte on January 27, 2018, with a result of (1-0).
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