CAF: Mazembe and Espérance to contest final; ConFed Cup Review
The two finalists for the African Champions League have been decided with defending champions TP Mazembe due to meet Tunisian side Espérance following this weekend’s semi-final second legs. In the CAF Confederation Cup the four semi-finalists were already known prior to this weeknd’s final group match fixtures. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the latest action in African club competition.
Africa’s Champions League will see a fascinating final after the two best sides in African football reached the continental showpiece which will be played over two legs in late October and early November. TP Mazembe qualified following Saturday’s goalless stalemate away in Algeria against JS Kabylie. The Congolese side’s 3-1 first leg victory saw them home and it is a fantastic achievement for the defending champions who have reached a second successive final. In a north African clash of the titans record champions Al Ahly had got the better of Espérance with a 2-1 scoreline in the first leg but the one-goal lead they had was not enough as the Tunisians won the second leg by an early Michael Eneramo goal to nil. Espérance will now harbour major hopes of winning a second African club crown whilst Mazembe want to win a second successive title and fifth overall.
There was nothing major at stake in the final round of group phase matches in the CAF Confederation Cup as all the four semi-finalists had been decided on Matchday 5. Nonetheless each of the four qualifiers still wanted to be top of their respective groups going in to the next round. Group A saw Sudanese outfit Al-Hilal creep over the line into first place after their Matchday 6 fixture against ASFAN FC from Niger ended in a goalless stalemate. Nearest challengers Ittihad from Libya won their final game 2-0 at home to Malians Djoliba FC with two first-half strikes from Sapol Mani and Ahmed Zuway deciding the match. Despite the victory Ittihad had to be content with second place in the table; Al-Hilal finished with 13 points from six games, one ahead of Ittihad who were a comfortable second place. Djoliba FC were five points further back in third place whilst ASFAN FC had to be content with the wooden spoon after scoring a measly two points in six games.
Group B was dominated by north African teams with FUS Rabat and CS Sfaxien finishing clear in the top two. Moroccans FUS leapfrogged CS Sfaxien into first place following their 2-1 home victory over their Tunisian opponents on Saturday. CS Sfaxien’s Lassaad Dridi gave the two-time Confederation Cup champions the lead after 27 minutes but the home side came back to win following goals from Hicham El Fatidi and Jamal Triki in the second half. The win meant that FUS Rabat finished top of the table with 13 points from six games, one ahead of CS Sfaxien. In the wooden spoon play-off Zambian team Zanaco FC managed to claw a 1-1 draw away at Egyptian side Haras El Hodood and maintained their third place finish with six points whilst Haras prop up the table with three points.