Visiting teams had little to celebrate over the weekend during the first leg of the second round of the CAF Champions League, as only one traveling club managed to secure victory. The eight winners of the two-legged ties will advance to the group phase, with the losers qualifying for the CAF Confederation Cup. The winner of Africa's biggest club competition will represent the continent at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco at the end of the year. The weekend's results are reviewed here.
Game of the week
AS Real Bamako 1-1 Esperance de Tunis
2011 champions Esperance, who have appeared in three of the last four finals and in the semi-finals ten of the last 20 seasons, will take a slight advantage into their return leg in Tunis after holding the 1966 runners-up to a 1-1 draw in Mali. The visitors dominated the first half and deservedly took the lead when Haithem Jouini scored his fifth goal of the campaign. But that was the only thing they had to show for their dominance and it allowed the home side to get back into the game with a well-taken free-kick late in the match by Moussa Doumbia. Esperance defender Iheb Mbarki said after that the two-time champions were satisfied with the result. “It is a positive score...We played well despite the heat, and we now have a better idea about our opponents and this will help us in the return.”
Al Ahly Benghazi 1-0 Al Ahly
Having already been forced to overturn a 1-0 defeat in the first round, defending champions Al Ahly will have to do it again after their Libyan namesakes beat the Egyptian club by the same scoreline. The game, which was played in Tunisia, was decided midway through the second half after Egyptian international Wael Gomaa made an uncharacteristic mistake as he tried to clear the ball, allowing Zimbabwe striker Edward Sadomba to score from close range. The Red Devils, who are chasing an unprecedented third consecutive title, could have returned to Cairo with a 2-0 defeat after Gomaa lost the ball near his own goal towards the end, but his team-mates rushed to his aid in the goal-mouth.
Belgian-Tunisian coach Nasredin Nabi took Sudanese club Al Hilal to his former team AC Leopards with whom he won the CAF Confederation Cup in 2012 and secured an important 1-1 draw, which leaves the tie wide open ahead of the return leg. Four-time champions TP Mazembe slumped to a 2-1 defeat in Côte d'Ivoire against Sewe Sport, while Tunisian club CS Sfaxien won 1-0 in Guinea against Horoya, to secure the only away win of the matchday. Five-time winners Zamalek drew 0-0 in Zambia against Nkana FC, while South African champions Kaizer Chiefs were shocked by an incisive performance by AS Vita Club, who won 3-0 in Kinshasa. The final game between ES Setif and Cameroonian visitors Coton Sport ended in a 1-0 victory for the home side, for whom El Hadi Belameiri scored the winner shortly before the break.
Player of the week
Ndombe Mubele was no stranger for South African football fans ahead of Kaizer Chiefs' trip to Kinshasa, having impressed in Congo DR's African Nations Championship campaign in South Africa earlier in the year. His hat-trick against the Amakhosi gave his club AS Vita Club an important 3-0 victory against Chiefs and opens the door for a first-ever place in the lucrative group phase for the 1973 champions.
3 – The 1-0 defeat against Al Ahly Benghazi is the third time in the Champions League that eight-time winners Al Ahly have lost their two opening away matches in the knock-out stage of the competition. In 2000 the Red Devils were beaten 1-0 in Kenya by Tusker and then lost 2-1 against Burundian club Vital'O. Ten years later, Gunners beat Al Ahly 1-0 in Zimbabwe and Libyan side Ittihad secured a 2-0 victory in the second round. Al Ahly fans though, can gain some consolation by the fact that in both cases their team managed to bounce back to advance to the next round.
What they said
“I think this is a new era at Nkana. We are solely focused on re-writing history,” said Nkana FC coach Masauso Mwale, whose side were held to a goalless draw at home by Zamalek. The Egyptian club had beaten Nkana at home in all five previous away matches.
Have your say
Can Al Ahly come back for the second round in a row and overturn a 1-0 defeat from the first leg? The champions needed a penalty shoot-out in their previous tie to beat Young Africans after losing the first leg 1-0 in Tanzania.