The second round of the CAF Champions League has been completed this weekend and the eight teams who have qualified from this section look forward to the oncoming group stage. “Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” reports on the winners and losers from the second round of Africa’s elite club competition and highlights the latest developments in the Confederation Cup, Africa’s equivalent of the UEFA Europa League or Copa Sudamericana.
On Friday night three teams were victorious in their Round of 16 matches. Zimbabweans Dynamos F.C. had a comfortable passage following their first leg 4-1 victory against Botswana’s Gaborone United by securing a goalless draw in the return fixture to become the first team through to the last eight. Algerian champions ES Sétif were made to work for their place having scraped through with a 3-2 aggregate win over Zambians Zanaco F.C. Another North African team, Espérance of Tunisia, made it through after they easily negotiated their way past Sudanese Al-Merreikh with a 4-0 aggregate win. On Sunday defending champions TP Mazembe secured their passage to the group stage with a 3-0 second leg win over Malians Djoliba, going through 4-0 overall. Algerians JS Kabylie were grateful to go through 3-2 on aggregate against Angolans Atlético Petróleos while Heartlands FC from Nigeria beat South African champions SuperSport United 4-2 on aggregate. The two Egyptian teams in the tournament, Al Ahly and Ismaily, clinched the remaining two berths in the last eight with aggregate victories over Ittihad and Al-Hilal Omdurman respectively. The eight winners will be drawn into two groups of four teams in the lucrative group stage whilst the eight losing teams from this round will be rewarded with the consolation prize of a place in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The sixteen teams remaining in the CAF Confederation Cup will play a further knockout round before they indulge in a group stage format similar to that in the main competition. Defending champions Stade Malien were knocked out of this year’s tournament having succumbed to a 2-0 aggregate defeat by Moroccans FUS Rabat. The team from the Moroccan capital took a two goal first leg lead into the return fixture and were able to hold on comfortably in order to progress to the next stage. Egyptians Haras El Hodood were the big winners in the second round having defeated Tanzanians Simba F.C. by six goals to three. Two-time former champions CS Sfaxien squeezed through past Egyptians Petrojet F.C. by a 2-1 scoreline whilst Algerian outfit CR Belouizdad’s hopes of claiming a first continental trophy were increased after they overturned a 1-0 first leg defeat with a 2-0 win in the second leg against Sudanese Amal Atbara. In the remaining games ASFAN F.C. (Niger), Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) and CAPS United (Zimbabwe) ensured aggregate wins against DC Motema Pembe (DR Congo), Cotonsport (Cameroun) and Warri Wolves (Nigeria) respectively while Nigerians Enyimba clawed back a 3-0 first leg deficit against AS Vita Club (DR Congo) to force extra-time and a penalty shoot-out in which they prevailed 9-8 from spot kicks.
SuperSport United have claimed their third straight South African Premiership title in the least spectacular fashion after they were defeated 2-1 at home by Bidvest Wits University on Matchday 29. However their four point lead over Mamelodi Sundowns was preserved after their nearest challengers also suffered defeat at the hands of bottom club Jomo Cosmos from Johannesburg by two goals to nil. With only one match left to play in the championship there is no way that the Sundowns can claim the title so SuperSport will have been popping open the champagne bottles despite losing to the third bottom club in the league.
Bidvest Wits went into the game as expected whipping boys but shocked the home crowd on 27 minutes when Mark Haskins gave the visitors a shock lead. Having picked the ball up in midfield Haskins let fly from distance and this certainly gave the away side confidence. However Brian Umony equalised just six minutes later after he headed home a cross from the left-hand side and at the break the score was tied with the crowd expecting a second half onslught after United had dominated most of the possession in the first half. But Wits had other ideas and were to settle the fate of the match midway through the second half. On 68 minutes Calvin Kadi was able to tap in a cross from a couple of yards out and had stolen another goal for Wits against the run of play. Despite SuperSport piling on the pressure for the rest of the game a second equalizer never came and it was the Students who celebrated a 2-1 win to move them up to 12th in the table.
Therefore the opportunity was there for Mamelodi Sundowns to capitalize on their rivals’ mistakes but they suffered an early setback of their own away at bottom team Cosmos. Paballo Mngomezulu opened the scoring after just five minutes for the relegation threatened home side. With just one minute of normal time to go in the second half Siza Dlamini tucked away a penalty kick to give the Cosmos the three points which not only slightly revived their chances of avoiding the automatic drop (one team can also go down via a play-off route) but also denied the Sundowns their title dream.
In other South Africa games Kaizer Chiefs won 2-0 at home to Mpumalanga Black Aces to confirm third place in the table with the losing team second bottom in the table and looking over their shoulder as they hope to avoid automatic relegation. Santos FC Cape Town lost at home to AmaZulu Durban by a solitary goal which means that Orlando Pirates, who are one point behind Santos in fifth, still have a chance of overtaking them in the table.