Egyptian giants Al Ahly were chasing an unprecedented third consecutive CAF Champions League title, but the continental kings saw their aspirations crushed by Libyan namesakes Al Ahly Benghazi, who followed up their 1-0 win from the first leg with a 3-2 victory in Cairo. Benghazi are one of five north African teams that advanced to the eight-team group phase. 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
Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 AS Vita Club
Needing to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg, Kaizer Chiefs were always going to face an uphill battle. Knowledge Musona gave the Amakhosi the lead in the tenth minute, sending Chiefs' fans down the road of hope. However, they suffered a set-back before the break as goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse and Musona had to be substituted with injuries. Morgan Gould saw his strike hit the woodwork midway through the second half and then found the back of the net in injury time, but there was no time to find a third that would have levelled matters. Instead, Vita Club go through to the group phase for the first time in their history, while Chiefs will join the seven other vanquished teams in the CAF Confederation Cup. "One of the most frustrating things is that we realise we were so much better than the team we were playing. But that's the way it goes, and I've just got to congratulate them and take it on the nose," said Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter afterwards.
Al Ahly 2-3 Al Ahly Benghazi
Despite losing the first leg 1-0, title holders Al Ahly were expected to control the home match and reverse the tie. And defender Mohamed Naguib gave the home side the lead shortly before the break to level the aggregate score, but Abdelrahman Fetori equalised a few minutes later from the penalty spot. Farag Abdel-Hafiz and Moataz El Mahdy added two more shortly after the break for the visitors and left the home side clutching for straws to stay in the competition. Their job was made even harder after Ahmed Fathi was sent off midway through the second half, and although Amr Gamal scored a second for the Red Devils with 15 minutes to go the rally was always going to be too little too late.
Tunisian club CS Sfaxien, who had already won 1-0 at Horoya in the first leg, had no problems overcoming the Guinean club, winning 2-0 for a 3-0 aggregate victory. Fakhreddine Ben Youssef and Mohamed Ali Moncer scored in the first half. Four-time champions TP Mazembe went through on the away-goal rule after beating Sewe Sport 1-0 in Lubumbashi. Zamalek, who have won one title more than Mazembe, ran rings around visiting Nkana FC, winning 5-0 on the night for a 5-0 aggregate. Ahmed Tawfik and Moamen Zakaria gave them a 2-0 half-time lead, with Omar Gaber, Hazem Emam and Ahmed Gaafar adding three after the break. Esperance beat AS Real Bamako 3-0 to complete a 4-1 aggregate victory, while Algerian ES Setif added a second 1-0 victory against last year's semi-finalists Coton Sport to go through 2-0 on aggregate. Sudanese club Al Hilal, who have twice lost in the final of the competition, played to a goalless draw at home against AC Leopards to advance on the away-goal rule after drawing the first leg 1-1 in Congo.
Player of the week
Tanzanian players are enjoying a good run in the Champions League. Although Young Africans were already knocked out in the first round after a penalty shootout with Al Ahly, Mrisho Ngasa remains the co-leader on the scorer charts with six. And now two Tanzanians, Mbwana Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu, scored the match-winning goal that took Mazembe into the group phase courtesy of an away-goal tie-breaker against Sewe Sport. Samatta had already scored his side's goal in the 2-1 defeat in Côte d’Ivoire.
2 – The number of countries with twice the chance of Champions League glory remaining. Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo both have two clubs left in the last eight, and their situations are similar. Tunisians giants Esperance are mainstays in the later stages of the tournament, lifting the trophy twice, while compatriots CS Sfaxien have reached one final – losing to Ahly in 2006. Likewise, DR Congo side TP Mazembe are the most successful club in the country, their four African titles three better than AS Vita, who last reached the final in 1981.
What they said
"We played in very difficult circumstances. Even Mourinho and Guardiola would fail at Ahly if they were this current situation," said Al Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef, referring to his team's period of transition and slumping form both domestically and on the continental stage.
Have your say
Who is looking like the favourite to win the CAF Champions League?