Favourites advance to the next stage
© AFP

Several favourites stumbled, but held on in the return legs of the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League in matches played over the weekend. Orlando Pirates, Asante Kotoko and Saint George were the biggest aggregate winners into the first round proper of the continent's most prestigious club competition.

Game of the week
Mochudi Centre Chiefs 1-0 CD Maxaquene
Mochudi Centre Chiefs continued Botswana's improving football fortunes as they ousted Mozambique champions Maxaquene 2-0 on aggregate. Having already done most of the work in the away game two weeks ago in Maputo, Chiefs nonetheless controlled proceedings in the Molepolole Sports Complex. The home side had the ball in the back of the net shortly before the break, but the referee ruled the goal offside. Any hopes the visitors had of reversing the result from the first leg ended when Botswana international defender Tshepo Motlhabankwe went around two defenders to score late in the game. 

The surprise
Casa Sport 1–0 (3-1 pen) Moghreb Tetouan
It took a goal in the third minute of injury time from Karim Ben Badji to give Casa Sport a 1-0 victory against Maghreb Tetouan, sending the game into extra time. As neither side managed to score, a penalty shoot-out determined the winners and Casa goalkeeper Pape Maguette Gningue saved three of the Moroccan's spot-kicks to see the Senegalese champions through 3-1. Tetouan, who remain the only African-based club to have played in a European first division (having competed in Spain in 1951/2), were thus knocked out after just two matches in their first-ever Champions League campaign.

Other matches
Five-time champions Zamalek fielded a weakened side in Chad against the local champions Gazelle, and returned to Egypt with a goalless draw but a 7-0 aggregate score after a lopsided first match. Manager Jorvan Vieira rested top scorer Ahmed Gaafar and midfielder Ahmed Eid and gave a debut to goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy, who came on in the second half for captain Abdul-Wahed Al-Sayed.

Ghana's Asante Kotoko, who also won their first leg match against CD Ela Nguema from Equatorial Guinea 7-0, added a 1-0 result in the return to advance 8-0 on aggregate. Ethiopian club Saint George won by the same aggregate score after a 5-0 victory against Zanzibar club Jamhuri. Even better were Orlando Pirates, who secured the biggest aggregate win of the round as they beat Comoros champions Djabal Club 4-0 for a 9-0 victory. 

There was heartbreak for Uganda Revenue Authority SC fans in Kampala, as the Ugandan champions went out 4-3 on penalties after drawing 0-0 against 2008 finalists Coton Sport of Cameroon. Karim Nkugwa came close to giving URA the win but saw his strike hit the crossbar. Also through on penalties were ASFA Yennenga from Burkina Faso, who ousted Benin's ASPAC. Real Banjul came agonizingly close to stealing their tie after beating Moroccan club FUS Rabat. The Gambian club won 2-1, but went out on the away-goals rule.

Tunisian club CA Bizertin, who are making only their second appearance in the competition, claimed a 1-0 away win to overcome Libyan club Al-Ittihad 2-1 on aggregate. Conditions in Libya saw the game moved to Morocco, where Marouane Troudi scored the only goal of the match in the first half. Bizertin goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha saved a late penalty to deny Al-Ittihad at least extra time. Others through were Kano Pillars (5-1 on aggregate against Olympic Real de Bangui), Union Douala (3-1 on aggregate against LISCR) and AS Vita Club (5-1 on aggregate against Dynamic Togolais). 

Player of the week
Former Legia Warsaw striker Takesure Chinyama, who joined South African champions Orlando Pirates last year, scored four goals in Pirates's 5-0 drubbing of Djabal Club in the first leg. The Zimbabwean scored once in the return leg to take his personal tally to five goals from two contests.

The stat
32 –
The number of teams left in the competition. Two more rounds of head-to-head ties will end up producing eight participants of the group stage, which begins in July.

What they said
"It seems in Uganda whenever we go to penalties, we don't go through. I don't know why. Maybe we are just unfortunate in penalties. We just have bad luck," Uganda Revenue Authority coach Paul Nkata.

Have your say
Can Orlando Pirates repeat their 1996 triumph and finally give South Africa their second African Champions League title?