Tunisian clubs demonstrate power

Tunisian clubs were celebrating on Saturday after securing third round places in the major African competitions.

Former title holders Club Africain overwhelmed Togolese visitors ASKO Kara 4-0 to wipe out a two-goal deficit from the first leg of a CAF Champions League clash.

And in the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup, defending champions Club Sportif Sfaxien and Esperance squeezed through after encountering unexpectedly tough opposition.

Sfaxien came from behind to draw 1-1 at modest Algerian outfit JSM Bejaia and advance 2-1 on aggregate while it was even closer for Esperance, who beat Moroccan minnows Rachad Barnoussi 2-0 at home to qualify on away goals.

Second division outfit Barnoussi created one of the biggest shocks in the 43-year history of CAF club competitions with a 3-1 triumph in Casablanca two weeks ago.

In another Champions League tie at the start of a 31-game weekend programme, 2007 semi-finalists Al Ittihad of Libya also went through on away goals after losing 2-1 at Primeiro Agosto of Angola.

Lassaad Ouartani triggered the Club African revival at the Al-Menzah Stadium with a 27th-minute goal and Oussama Sallami converted a penalty to bring the 1991 champions level on aggregate with ASKO by half-time.

Youssef Mouihbi struck the third goal six mintues into the second half and Wissem Yahya completed the rout midway through the second half to set up a probable showdown against twice champions Enyimba of Nigeria.

Debutants Bejaia could not have wished for a better start as Braham Chaouch gave them an eighth-minute lead only for Younis Sellimi to equalise midway through the opening half.

Esperance, one of the richest football clubs on the continent and winners of every CAF competition except the Confederation Cup, survived thanks to a penalty and own goal in Rades on the outskirts of Tunis.

Kamel Zaiem converted the 10th-minute spot kick and Kamis Lahou conceded the own goal while trying to prevent Saber Khalifa scoring at the 60,000-seat November 7 Stadium where Tunisia lifted the 2004 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

Zambian striker Harry Milanzi scored in each half to edge military club Primeiro ahead on aggregate after a 1-0 first leg loss in Tripoli only for Mohamed Zubya to snatch the crucial away goal 12 minutes from time.