TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo cleared the first hurdle without much exertion in pursuit of a record third consecutive CAF Champions League title. The Crows took a two-goal advantage over Simba of Tanzania to Dar es Salaam where leading scorer Dioko Kaluyituka bagged a brace in a 3-2 victory.
An early goal from Given Singuluma for Mazembe set the tone. Shija Mkina equalised on 58 minutes and an exchange of goals from Kaluyituka and Mbwana Samata left the teams level midway through the second half before the Congolese struck home the winner.
Mazembe, who stunned Brazilian champions Internacional in Abu Dhabi last December before succumbing to Inter Milan in the Club World Cup final, will face Wydad Casablanca of Morocco this month with a group place at stake.
Wydad drew 0-0 away to Kano Pillars of Nigeria, who carried the burdens of playing with ten men for 70 minutes after the early dismissal of midfielder Hillary Chukwu.
Casablanca will have two representatives among the last 16 in the premier African club competition thanks to a late first-half goal from Senegalese import Mamadou Traore for Raja. It secured the Green Devils a 1-0 home win over 2009 African Confederation Cup winners Stade Malien and a third round place on the away-goal rule following a 2-1 reverse in Bamako.
Ahly fall to SuperSport
Esperance fell 2-0 to ASPAC in Benin after creating a five-goal cushion at home two weeks ago. Ahly, rusty from lack of competitive match practice, were grateful for a two-goal first leg lead as they fell 1-0 to SuperSport United in South Africa.
SuperSport rose above poor domestic form to hit the post before Jabulani Maluleke scored direct from a free-kick and an Ahly strike force of 'Geddo' and Dominique da Silva never threatened goalkeeper Rowan Fernandez.
Burkina Faso was the place for goals as Setif defeated ASFA Yennenga 4-3 with Nabil Hemani scoring twice and Hadj Aissa and Abderrahmane Hachoud scoring one each for the visitors who had established a two-goal advantage at home.
V Club of Congo DR, whose sole African title came 38 years ago, fell by the wayside after a 2-0 loss to Cotonsport Garoua in Cameroon where Joel Babanda and Hilaire Moumi were the scorers.