Caf Confederation Cup review wrap: Holders Raja eliminated despite heavy win, Nkana lose but sneak into last eight

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It was end of the road for Raja Casablanca despite victory away at Otoho, as Zamalek advanced to the quarter-finals after draw with NA Hussein Dey

Defending champions Raja Casablanca’s 4-1 emphatic win away at AS Otoho did not count for anything as they still reeled out of the Caf Confederation on Sunday.

Having failed to win in their previous five Group A games, Raja’s triumph in Owando was too little, too late to take them to the quarter-finals.

Striker Mahmoud Benhalib, Libyan midfielder Sanad Al-Warfali, Ayoub Nanah and chief forward Mouhssine Iajour led the destruction of Otoho with goals in a come-from-behind victory after defender Dimitri Bissiki had thrust the hosts ahead.

Hassania Agadir’s 1-0 win over already-qualified RSB Berkane in another Group A game immensely contributed to Raja’s exit.

A first half strike by Youssef Alfahli handed Berkane their first and only defeat in this group campaign and helped Agadir take up the last quarter-final slot from this pool as they climbed into second-position where they are just a point above third-placed Raja Casablanca.

Elsewhere, in stark contrast of Raja’s fortunes, Nkana were hammered 4-1 by Al Hilal in Omdurman but still qualified for the last eight from Group C.

The Zambians melted under a brace by 20-year-old forward Waleed Bakhet Hamid as well as Sharaf Eldin Ali’s strike, while their former Congolese forward Idris Mbombo also added to their defeat with Al Hilal's last goal.

Walter Bwalya grabbed Nkana’s consolation as they finished as runners-up with two points below leaders Al Hilal.

However, Nkana had to thank compatriots Zesco United for a helping hand into the next round with a 2-1 win over visiting Asante Kotoko in another Group C match in Ndola.

Had Kotoko won, Nkana would have been doomed but Zesco did the job for them.

In Group D, Zamalek squeezed themselves through with a goalless away draw with Algerian side NA Hussein Dey.

Needing just a point to advance to the quarter-finals, Zamalek got just that although they risked a defeat which could have seen them out of the competition.

The Egyptian giants finished as group leaders on a better-hear-to-head record than second-placed Gor Mahia whom they are tied with on nine points.

It was a match in which Zamalek and Hussein Dey took turns to miss chances with the Moroccan attacking duo of Hamid Ahadad and Khalid Boutaib the major culprits for the visitors, while Chamsseddine Harrag came close for Hussein Dey.

Zamalek defender Mahmoud Alaa almost beat his own goalkeeper Mahmoud Gennesh three minutes before halftime while under pressure from the hosts.

Meanwhile, Firas Ben Larbi’s early goal was all what Etoile du Sahel needed to edge their Burkinabe visitors Salitas 1-0 and joined CS Sfaxien into the last eight from Group B.

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Etoile needed at least a draw to advance but they went for the kill with Ben Larbi deciding the match as early as six minutes into the contest.

Just one spot was up for grab from this pool as Sfaxien had already qualified.

Sfaxien were playing for prestige and notched a 1-0 over Enugu Rangers away to end this stage two points clear at the top.

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