Caf Champions League wrap: TP Mazembe, Mamelodi Sundowns reach quarter-finals

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TP Mazembe of DR Congo.
The group campaign started taking shape with two teams storming into the last eight

TP Mazembe marched into the Caf Champions League quarter-finals following a come-from-behind 2-1 Group A victory over Primeiro Agosto 2-1 in Lubumbashi on Saturday.

It appeared as if Agosto were to extend their unbeaten run against Mazembe to four games when Cristovao Mabululu stunned the Stade TP Mazembe with a goal eight minutes into the match.

With the Angolan champions taking a half-time lead, Mazembe came back from the break to overturn matters through goals from Chico Ushindi on the hour mark and Jackson Muleka who struck his fifth goal in four games eight minutes later.

Now with 10 points, Mazembe are guaranteed a place in the last eight while third-placed Agosto remaining winless with slim chances of progressing to the next round by catching up with Zamalek who are in position two.

It was the second time for Mabululu to score against the Congolese giants after he was also on target in the reverse fixture in Luanda.

In Group C, Mamelodi Sundowns also advanced to the quarter-finals after dismissing USM Alger 2-1 at Loftus Versfeld.

Thapelo Morena fired the 2016 champions ahead in the 36th minute but Aymen Mahious struck back for USM Alger a minute before half-time.

Sibusisio Vilakazi then immediately restored Downs’ lead in the first-half stoppage time by turning in Hlompho Kekana’s assist to seal victory for the hosts who are now four points clear at the top.

Even if they lose their final two group games, Sundowns will still qualify for the quarter-finals although they are now fighting to finish top of this pool.

USM Alger remain in third position with just two points and will now have to pray for second-placed Wydad Casablanca to falter for them to go further in the competition.

Wydad dropped points following a 2-2 draw with basement side Petro Atletico in Luanda.

The Moroccans were the first to go ahead through DR Congo forward Kazadi Kasengu 14 minutes into the match but Herenilson and Dany struck back for Petro Atletico before the half-time break.

When it appeared as if the Angolans were up for a maiden win in this group, Wydad were awarded a second-half penalty which was duly converted by Yahya Jabrane for the match to end 2-2.

Just like USM Alger, Petro Atletico’s chances of reaching the quarter-finals are now very slim.

Elsewhere in Group D, Esperance edged closer to booking a quarter-final spot with a 2-0 win over AS Vita at Stade des Martyrs.

A first-half goal by Ivorian midfielder Fousseny Coulibaly and Hamdou Elhouni’s strike right at the death secured three away points for Esperance who now need just a point from two games to confirm a place in the next round.

It was another nightmarish outing for AS Vita who remain winless at the bottom of the group and are out of the running for a quarter-final spot.

Other Group D contestants, third-placed JS Kabylie and Raja Casablanca on second spot drew 0-0 on Friday night.

Meanwhile, Etoile du Sahel shot to the top of Group B where they deposed Al Ahly after edging Al Hilal 2-1 away in Omdurman.

Waleed Bakhet Hamid opened the scoring, firing the hosts ahead on the half-hour mark, but an own goal by Omer Behaldeen restored parity for Etoile five minutes later.

Mohamed Iheb Msakni then decided the contest with Etoile’s winner 19 minutes from time for the Tunisians to go two points clear at the top of the group.

Al Hilal slid down to third place after suffering their first defeat in this pool.

For their ascendancy to the summit, Etoile had to thank FC Platinum who held Al Ahly 1-1 at Barbourfields Stadium in Zimbabwe’s second-biggest city Bulawayo.

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Marwan Mohsen secured a point for Al Ahly seven minutes into the second half when he scored to cancel Stanley Ngala’s 19th-minute goal for FC Platinum who picked up their first group point.

Al Ahly are now in second place as they face stiff competition from Al Ahly and Etoile to reach the quarters.

Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum are now out of contention to reach the quarter-finals, having failed to win in four games.