CAF: TP Mazembe and Al-Ahly gain first leg leads; ConFed Cup Review (+video)
In the CAF Champions League semi-finals this weekend defending champions TP Mazembe made the most of home advantage as they fought out a 3-1 win over Algerians JS Kabylie whilst in Cairo Al Ahly, also at home, got the better of Espérance by two goals to one.
TP Mazembe are hoping to defend the title they won last season and, thus, win a fourth title overall. They certainly have one foot in the semi-finals following their home defeat of JS Kabylie who have just begun their domestic season in the last fortnight. Dioko Kaluyituka gave TP Mazembe the lead after just six minutes and that was the way the match remained until half-time. After the break JS Kabylie’s Nabil Yaâlaoui scored a crucial away goal to restore parity and the Algerians looked like they would hold out for a vital draw. But, in the last five minutes of the match, the Congans regained the initiative with a double strike from Ndandu Kasongo which gives the champions a healthy advantage going into the second leg in two weeks time.
WATCH TP MAZEMBE v JS KABYLIE HIGHLIGHTS HERE:
Record six-time champions Al Ahly have a great chance to reach yet another final following their 2-1 victory at home to Tunisians Espérance. The game was going so well for the Egyptian champions as a controversial goal from Mohamed Fadl – alleged to have handled the ball before it went in the net – and Ahmed Fathy with a stunning strike from a difficult angle gave Al Ahly a healthy two goal cushion after 68 minutes. Espérance had to attack to get something worthwhile from the game and they were rewarded after 72 minutes when Ousamma Darragi pulled one back for the 1994 champions. The return fixture in Tunisia in a fortnight’s time promises to be fascinating.
WATCH AL AHLY v ESPERANCE HIGHLIGHTS HERE:
In the Confederation Cup it was Matchday 5 of the group stage and three of the four semi-finalists have been decided with one game of the league phase remaining. Sudanese club Al Hilal top Group A have 12 points after five games and are already through to the next round as they can only finish second at worse. This follows their 2-0 home win over second place Ittihad, a defeat which leaves the Libyans plenty to do in Matchday 6 when they’ll face off against Malian outfit Djoliba FC who lie just two points behind Ittihad in third place and are ready to pounce into second should they defeat their next opponents. In Group B two-time winners CS Sfaxien saw off the challenge of Egyptian opponents Haras El Hodood with a 3-1 win which put the Tunisian giants level on points with FUS Rabat. The team from the Moroccan capital dropped two points away at Zanaco FC in Zambia following a 1-1 draw and it sets up an interesting Matchday 6 game in which FUS Rabat will host CS Sfaxien in a straight shoot-out for the top spot.