CAF: Halfway point in group stages remain interesting
African football’s two main club competitions have reached the halfway stage in the group phase. Two teams continue to dominate in Group A of the CAF Champions League whilst Group B is a more competitive affair. In the CAF Confederation Cup things remain tight in both groups and there is no team who has yet laid down a marker for the rest of the tournament.
Sudanese champions Al-Hilal Club and their Nigerian counterparts Enyimba FC look set to be the two teams who will qualify from Group A for the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League. Both teams recorded home victories on Matchday 3 with Al-Hilal getting the better of Cameroonians Coton Sport thanks to a 2-1 score line whilst Enyimba FC saw off Moroccans Raja Casablanca with a comfortable 2-0 win. The victories leave both teams with a record of two wins and a draw from their first three group matches and the margin between them and the other two teams is six points with Coton Sport and Raja chalking up only one point each so far.
Group B is a tighter affair involving three of the giants of North African football. After three games Tunisians Espérance and Moroccans Wydad Casablanca lead the way on five points each with record six-time African champions Al-Ahly just one point behind. The table is propped up by Algerians MC Alger who have found it difficult to follow up their opening day draw to the group leaders. Matchday 3 saw MC Alger lose 2-0 in Cairo to Al-Ahly whilst Espérance and Wydad Casablanca fought out a 2-2 draw with the latter coming back from two goals down in front of their home supporters.
The CAF Confederation Cup remains intriguing after three matches with both groups remaining competitive. Group A is topped by Tunisians Club Africain who have one win and two draws to show for their efforts so far and their five point tally is just one better than that of Inter Luanda (Angola) and ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast) who are second and third respectively. ASEC pulled closer to the leaders following their 2-1 win over Nigerians Kaduna United who, despite being bottom of the table, are still only three points behind the leaders whilst Club Africain top the group thanks to a 2-0 home win against Inter Luanda.
Group B is also a tight affair involving three clubs. Algerians JS Kabylie are almost certainly out of the picture following three straight defeats and it is left to MAS Fez (Morocco), Sunshine Stars (Nigeria) and Motema Pembe (Congo) to fight it out for the two semi-final places available from this group. MAS leapfrogged over Sunshine Stars following a 1-0 win over the Nigerians on Saturday to lead the group with seven points. The Stars are just a solitary point behind the leaders whilst Motema Pembe are just two points further back following their 2-0 away victory against JS Kabylie on Friday.