Although some of the bigger clubs participating in the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League went into their return legs having to overcome a first leg deficit, all of them managed as they advanced to the first round proper where they will be joined by the continent's largest clubs.
Game of the week
Enyimba 2-0 Vipers
Ugandan club Vipers caused one of the upsets of the first leg when they beat Nigerian entrants Enyimba 1-0, forcing the two-time continental champions to pull out all the stops in the return leg. Having started the domestic season poorly, the People's Elephant managed to turn things around at home with Mfon Udoh scoring both goals. The promising Super Eagles striker found the net from the penalty spot in the first half after new arrival Ikechukwu Ibenegbu was brought down. Udoh doubled his side's lead shortly after the hour mark with a spectacular back heel that gave the home side not only their first victory of the season, but also a 2-1 aggregate victory and a place in the next round. “Hopefully it will be the beginning of a good season for us. I’m grateful for the goals and the fact that the team has qualified,” Udoh said after the game.
Vital'O 0-1 Lioli
Lesotho champions Lioli stunned their Burundian opposition Vital'O with a 1-0 victory in Bujumbura, but the result left the visitors heart-broken as it was not enough to overcome a 2-1 deficit from the home leg. Even though Lioli had lost in Maseru, coach Mosholi 'Shoes' Mokhothu said before the match that they could still go through. “We want to take the game to Vital'O and put them under pressure from the first whistle.” This, the visitors managed, and they were rewarded when the referee pointed to the spot shortly before the break. Jerry Kamele stepped up and made no mistake, levelling the tie at 2-2. Tse Nala, who were hoping to become the first side from Lesotho since LDF in 2001 to overcome the first hurdle, threw everything at Vital'O in the second half but failed to find the all-important second goal that would have seen them through. In the end it was Vital'O who advanced on the away-goal rule.
Surprising Côte d'Ivoire champions Tanda were unlucky to be drawn against seasoned campaigners Club Africain and could only manage a scoreless draw in their home leg after losing 2-0 in Tunisia. Ghana's woes in the competition continued as league champions Ashanti Gold were eliminated. Having won the first leg against Algerian club MO Bejaia 1-0, the Miners were hoping to keep the advantage and looked strong after Emmanuel Osei equalised the match 1-1 shortly before the break. However, goals in the second half from Khadir Sofiane and Hamzaoui Okacha gave Bejaia a 3-1 victory on the day for a 3-2 aggregate win.
Libyan club Al Ahli Tripoli and Union Douala from Cameroon could both afford a goalless draw in their home legs having done most of the hard work on the road. The Libyans won 2-1 on aggregate against Mali club Onze Createurs, while Douala went through 3-1 on aggregate against Liberian team Nimba United. CNaPS Sport gave Madagascar an unexpected place in the first round after beating Kenyan champions Gor Mahia 1-0 in Mahajanga. Madagascar international Njiva Rakotoharimalala scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half to set up a comfortable 3-1 aggregate victory.
Player of the week
After losing the first leg in Swaziland 1-0 against Mbabane Swallows, Rwandan champions APR always knew they had a tough battle on their hands in the return leg. However, two early goals by defender Abdul Rwatubyaye put the pressure on the Swazi side. When Sakele Mkhweli pulled one back for Swallows, the 19-year-old Rwatubyaye, who featured for his national team in the recent CAF African Nations Championship Rwanda hosted earlier this year, found the net for his hat-trick to set up an emphatic 4-1 victory.
9 – The number of goals that Recreativo do Libolo scored against Equatorial Guinea's Racing de Micomeseng. The Angolan champions won the first leg 5-1 and added a similarly convincing 4-0 victory in the return leg in Bata. South African club Kaizer Chiefs, who won their away leg in the Comoros 4-0 against Volcan Club, were denied an opportunity to add to that tally when logistical issues saw the visitors fail to make it to the return leg.
What they said
“When we play like this we are destined for success. We want to win the competition. But credit to our opponents. They are a very good team. These are not fishermen from an island, this is serious football and they gave us a hard time,” Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, whose side overturned a 1-0 first leg deficit against Zimbabwe's Chicken Inn with a 2-0 win in the return leg.
Have your say
Did any of the sides in the preliminary rounds impress you as bound for the group stage?