CAF: Espérance and Kabylie keep 100% records; ConFed Cup Round-Up
Matchday 2 of the CAF Champions League group stages took place this weekend and there are two teams who have maintained a 100% start and have improved their chances of reaching the semi-finals of the tournament. In the CAF Confederation Cup, Africa’s secondary club tournament, the play-off round 2nd legs were played this weekend and the eight teams who will play in the competition’s group stages have been decided. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog guides you through another fascinating weekend in African football.
Saturday’s matches in the CAF Champions League went a little bit further in determining who the teams to beat in the competition are going to be. Group A saw Tunisians Espérance Sportive win their second straight match in the group stage with a slender 1-0 home victory against Dynamos FC from Zimbabwe. The visitors had already lost their first group match against TP Mazembe a fortnight ago and their defeat on Saturday means that they have it all to do if they are to go through to the last four. The home side did leave it late to secure the win with Oussama Darragi sealing the deal with seven minutes remaining. The second match on Saturday took place in Group B with Algerians JS Kabylie also maintaining a perfect start to their campaign following up a Matchday 1 victory over Egyptians Ismaily with a 1-0 home win over Nigerians Heartland FC. Farès Hamiti scored the only goal ten minutes into the second half to make sure that JS Kabylie would top the group going into Matchday Three.
Sunday’s matches began with defending African champions TP Mazembe having to settle for a point at home to Algerians ES Sétif. The Congans started well after Bedi Mbenza had given Mazembe the lead after 18 minutes but the Algerians turned it around by going ahead with Nabil Hemani scoring a brace with goals in the 39th and 55th minutes but their lead didn’t last long as Trésor Mputu’s 57th minute penalty restored parity for the champions and with no further goals it meant that Mazembe had four points from two matches, two points behind Espérance Sportive whilst ES Sétif got their first point of the group stage to go third in the group above Dynamos who remain without a point. In Group B there was a dramatic late winner for Al Ahly in Sunday’s all-Egyptian affair against Al-Ismaily with the record six-time African champions sealing a 2-1 victory with a goal from Wael Gomaa three minutes into second half stoppage time. After a goalless first half Mohamed Talaat gave Al Ahly the lead on 58 minutes only for Mohamed Abougrisha to equalize with ten minutes remaining and it looked like the visitors were going to obtain a point from the game until Gomaa’s last gasp winner. JS Kabylie have six points from two matches with their Matchday Three opponents Al Ahly two points behind. Heartland FC have one point whilst Al-Ismaily prop up the group having lost both matches so far.
In the CAF Confederation Cup Egyptians Haras El Hodoud were the big winners on Saturday disposing of Botswana’s Gaborone United by an 8-2 aggregate scoreline. The margin of victory was all the more remarkable considering that United had won the first leg at home 1-0 and, thus, capitualted so easily in the second leg of the contest by an unbelievable 8-1 scoreline. Three other games on Saturday saw Algerians CR Belouizdad go out on away goals after Malian side Djoliba got a 1-1 draw in Algiers, Niger’s ASFAN FC were involved in a free-scoring contest against Egyptians Al Merreikh and had the better of it going through 4-3 while a crucial away goal was enough for Libyans Ittihad to go through against Angolans Primeiro de Agosto (2-0; 1-2). Sunday’s matches concluded the play-off round with Sudan’s Al-Hilal following the example of Haras El Hodoud by beating their opponents CAPS United from Zimbabwe by putting eight goals past them over two legs (5-0; 3-1). Nigerians Enyimba FC did half the work necessary to overturn a 4-0 deficit from their first leg encounter against Zanaco FC but ended up on the wrong end of a 4-2 aggregate scoreline whilst two-time champions CS Sfaxien went through by virtue of a 3-1 second leg defeat of Atlético Petróleos. FUS Rabat, who knocked defending champions Stade Malien out of the tournament in the second round, were the last team through to the group stage defeating South African champions SuperSport United on away goals (2-1; 0-1).
The two groups for the Confederation Cup have been drawn – here is the composition of the group stage:
FUS Rabat (Morocco)
Zanaco FC (Zambia)
Haras El Hadoud (Egypt)
CS Sfaxien (Tunisia)
Matchday One of the Confederation Cup group stages take place between August 13-15.