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CAF Champions League

Caf Champions League & Confederation Cup wrap: Ahly, Vita & Asec reach group stages, Zamalek advance into play-offs

2:14 PM EST 12/23/18
Esperance v Al-Ahly
Sunday's Caf Champions League and Confederation matches did not produce major surprises with big teams easing into the next round

Al Ahly survived a scare in Ethiopia when they lost 1-0 to unheralded Jimma Kenema, but they sneaked into Caf Champions League group stages with a narrow 2-1 aggregate win.

Didier Lebri’s goal put Al Ahly at risk of elimination, but the Egyptians held on to advance further into the competition which they finished as runners-up for the past two seasons.

Elsewhere, Tanzanian giants Simba SC launched a remarkable comeback, overturning the 2-1 first leg defeat to Zambian side Nkana FC by winning 3-1 at home.

Nkana could be cursing themselves for blowing up a golden opportunity to reach the group stage after they went ahead through Walter Bwalya, leaving Simba needing three goals to wrap up the tie.

But the Tanzanians did claw their way back into the match with goals from Jonas Mkude, Meddie Kagere and Zambian forward Clatous Chama who helped punish his compatriots.

After Zesco’s exit from the Champions League 24 hours earlier, Nkana followed suit and have now been relegated to the Confederation Cup.

In Maseru, As Vita eased into the Champions League group stage with a 1-0 away win over Lesotho champions Bantu FC to post a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Defender Glody Ngonda grabbed the winner as Vita never had to shed any sweat on this comfortable afternoon for them.

Former African champions Asec Mimosas edged Stade Malien in Abidjan to complete a 2-0 aggregate win.

Having won 1-0 away last week, Asec finished the job at home through a goal from 17-year-old forward Abdoul Tapsoba to storm into the group stage.

Meanwhile, Al Hilal were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Club Africain who advanced to the group staged on a 3-1 aggregate scoreline. 

Also booking a place in the group stage were Algerian side JS Saoura who reached the Champions League group stages for the first time ever despite losing 1-0 away at Ittihad Tanger of Morocco.

Abdulkabir El Ouadi’s goal was not enough to help Ittihad Tanger overturn the 2-0 defeat they suffered in the reverse leg.

In the Confederation Cup, Zamalek were beaten 2-0 away at AS Coton Tchad, but still surged into the play-offs thanks to a heavy 7-0 first leg victory.

Going through on a 7-2 aggregate scoreline, Zamalek were slack despite fielding an almost full-strength squad and felt comfortable with the first leg win they posted at home.

But they managed to avoid a damaging defeat in Chad as Abanga Youssef and Adada Mehmet scored late for the hosts.

In Lusaka, Mike Katiba’s goal which handed Green Buffaloes a 1-0 win over 10-man CS Sfaxien at home was not enough to ensure progression to the play-offs.

Having lost 4-1 away in Tunisia in the first leg, Green Buffaloes were already facing a tough task to turnaround this contest and they managed just one goal and were left needing two more to advance to the next phase through the away goals advantage.

The visitors ended the match with a man short following a red card to midfielder Alaeddine Marzouki 10 minutes into the second half but Buffaloes could not make full use of their opponent’s numerical disadvantage.

New Star Douala needed the away goals advantage to reach the play-offs following a 0-0 draw with Al Ahli Tripoli at home.

Their goal scored in the 1-1 draw away in the reverse fixture pushed them to the next round where they will meet a side relegated from the Champions League.