Caf Champions League Friday wrap: TP Mazembe, Esperance held but maintain pole positions

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Rainford Kalaba | TP Mazembe
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The Caf Champions League group stage games continued on Friday with TP Mazembe and Esperance dropping points

Early goals from Rainford Kalaba and Cristovao Mabululu settled matters in TP Mazembe’s away 1-1 draw with Primeiro Agosto in a Caf Champions League Group A tie at November 11 Stadium.

TP Mazembe will spend Friday night four points clear at the top of this pool as they extended their unbeaten run in the Champions League group stage to seven games.

Despite dropping points for the first time in this group, Mazembe are also guaranteed pole position going into match-day four regardless of the result between other Group A contestants Zesco United and Zamalek on Saturday.

It was the third consecutive game in which TP Mazembe failed to beat Agosto after two previous matches between these sides ended in draws in 2018.

Veteran Zambian midfielder Kalaba thrust Mazembe into the lead eight minutes into the match off a Glody Likonza assist, but Mabululu responded for the hosts four minutes later.

For all their efforts in restricting the five-time African champions, Agosto are third on the standings.

Meanwhile, Esperance remained Group D leaders despite dropping two crucial points in the 0-0 draw with visiting AS Vita at Stade Olympique de Rades.

The defending champions entered this round of matches enjoying a three-point lead in their group but are now just a point clear at the top, while Vita remain rooted at the bottom of this pool with just a single point.

It was the 10th straight match in the Champions League group stages in which Esperance have avoided defeat.

Elsewhere in another Group D encounter, Soufiane Rahimi scored and provided an assist as Raja Casablanca grabbed two quick goals to beat Algerian giants JS Kabylie 2-0n at Mohamed V Stadium.

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The result saw Raja come just a point behind group leaders Esperance as Kabylie are in third position.

Rahimi set up former TP Mazembe forward Ben Malango for Raja’s opening goal six minutes into the second half.

Rahimi then doubled Raja’s advantage three minutes later to complete a man-of-the-match performance.

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