Crows and Stars flying high
© AFP

Although record-winners of the competition Al Ahly continued their unbeaten run in the group stage of the CAF Champions League with a 1-1 draw in their Group B match at Berekum Chelsea, they are not yet guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. In Group A, if Esperance are awarded three points for the abandoned match that they were leading 2-0 against Etoile du Sahel, they would claim one of spots in the last four, where TP Mazembe and Sunshine Stars look like joining after an eventful weekend.

Game of the week
Berekum Chelsea 1-1 Al Ahly
The Egyptian side, who have won the competition a record six times, went into the game against the Blues having not dropped a single point at the half-way stage, and in the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra it looked as if the visitors would maintain their 100 per-cent record after Ivorian striker Oussou Konan gave the Red Devils the lead two minutes from the break. The home side came out of the change-rooms the stronger side though and leveled matters just seven minutes after the restart when Jordan Opoku scored from close range. Chelsea, who started the game with several changes from the side that lost 4-1 in Cairo two weeks earlier, had several chances to snatch a winner, but were let down by poor finishing.

The surprise
ASO Chlef 1–2 Sunshine Stars
The only Nigerian team to have won the showpiece event of African club football was Enyimba, who triumphed in 2003 and 2004, and the last remaining Nigerian club alive on the continent, Sunshine Stars, are determined to follow in their footsteps. A 2-1 victory in Algeria puts the Akure-based team well on course in Group A. Cameroonian midfielder Medrano Tamen opened the scoring deep into first-half injury time before Anicet Eyenga equalised shortly after the break for the hosts. But any hopes of Chlef securing their first points in the group suffered a set-back in the 65th minute when defender Sabri Gharbi was sent off, and the visitors made the most of their numerical advantage with Akombo Ukeyima scoring the winner for Stars in the 76th minute.

Other matches
What was meant to be the top clash of the weekend - the Tunisian derby between hosts Etoile du Sahel and their rivals Esperance in Group A - ended in disappointment, as spectators entered the field towards the end of the 2-0 match. Striker Joseph Yannick Ndjeng gave the visitors the two-goal lead after Karim Aouadhi opened the scoring for the Blood and Gold four minutes from the break. But the referee was forced to halt the game with 20 minutes to play. Should the two-time champions receive the maximum points, they would be through to the last four, while the Red Devils, on four points, will have their work cut out for them if they want to catch Sunshine Stars.

Five-time champions Zamalek went into their clash at home against TP Mazembe with their backs against the wall. Having lost their three opening matches, the hosts giants needed full points in Cairo. However, Mbwana Samata scored his third goal against Egyptian competition in the last six weeks to give the Crows a 2-1 victory following on from their 2-0 home triumph in Lubumbashi a fortnight ago. Razak Omotoyossi had cancelled out Zambian international Hichani Himoonde’s early goal for the Whites, but Samata’s athletic leap just before half-time settles things for Mazembe, who are second in Group B on seven points. In his debut with Zamalek, coach Brazilian Jorvan Vieira sees his new team eliminated from the competition after losing all four matches they have played.

Player of the week
After their two opening matches in the Champions League, Sunshine Stars looked well off the pace after picking up just a single point. But back-to-back victories over Chlef leaves them in the driving seat for one of the two semi-final spots in Group A. Their current advantage is down to loping striker Akombo Ukeyima, who crushed his winner from an angle on the right side of the box into the roof of the net.

The stat
2 –
With two games remaining in the group stage, two teams have been eliminated from contention: ASO Chlef and five-time winners Zamalek remain without a point after four games.

What they said
"We're still in the race, but we just have to take our next two games seriously. I believe in my boys, and I know we can go further," Hans van der Pluijm, Berekum Chelsea coach.  

Have your say
Can Sunshine Stars become the second Nigerian club to win the Champions League?