CAF: Mazembe win; Record champions in stalemate
The opening matchday of the African Champions League took place this weekend and it was a good one for defending champions TP Mazembe whose campaign goes from strength to strength following a 2-0 win in Zimbabwe. Record champions Al Ahly, however, had to come from behind to snatch a draw away at Nigerians Heartland FC.
The weekend began with in Group A and a battle between two north African heavyweights. Tunisian giants Espérance Sportive travelled to Algeria to face ES Sétif and came away with the three points following a Wadji Bouazzi strike early in the second half. TP Mazembe’s two goal victory away at Dynamos FC has given the defending African champions a perfect start and the top spot in Group A thanks to Zambian striker Given Singuluma whose brace came in the first half to secure the three points from the team hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Group B record champions Al Ahly were ultimately grateful to seal a point from their game away at Heartland who took the lad after 49 minutes thanks to Joshua Obaje. But the Egyptians got their equalizer in the 75th minute from the penalty spot which was scored by Abou Treika much to the relief of their coach Hossam El-Badry. In the other Group B match played in Egypt home side Al Ismaily were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Algerians JS Kabylie thanks to a lone strike from Belkacem Remache with fourteen minutes remaining of the match.
In the CAF Confederation Cup record champions CS Sfaxien could only draw 0-0 in their play-off, first leg match away at Angolan side Atlético Petróleos. The big winners in the opening legs were Zambians Zanaco FC who hammered their Nigerian opponents Enyimba by four goals to nil and, in the last game of the weekend on Sunday, Sudanese club Al Hilal went one better by scoring five past Zimbabwe’s CAPS United without reply. Other winners in the opening legs were Ittihad (2-0 v Primeiro de Agosto), Gaborone United (1-0 v Haras El Hodood) and Supersport United (2-1 v FUS Rabat) whilst the games involving Al-Merreikh v ASFAN FC and Djoliba v CR Belouizdad finished 2-2 and 0-0 respectively to ensure a nervous second leg in each case.