21-year-old Ghanaian Eric Bekoe struck twice for Asante Kotoko in a 3-1 home victory over Jeunesse Sportive Kabylie of Algeria in the CAF African Confederation Cup, and raised his goal haul in the competition to nine, all of which have been scored at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
Bekoe scored twice each against Nigerian clubs Wikki Tourists and Dolphin in the qualifiers, hit another brace in a play-off triumph over Al-Ittihad of Libya, and snatched the last-gasp winner against Al-Merreikh of Sudan two weeks ago.
He broke the Group B deadlock against Kabylie on 38 minutes by springing an offside trap and finishing a Jordan Opoku cross for the only goal of the first half. The roles were reversed for the second Kotoko goal midway through the second half, with Bekoe once again foiling Algerian attempts to catch him offside and setting up Opoku to score.
And the match ceased as a contest 11 minutes from full-time when Kabylie goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi fumbled a long-range shot from Samuel Inkoom and Bekoe drove home the rebound. Marash Taieb scored a consolation goal one minute into stoppage time for Kabylie, who host Kotoko next Sunday in another clash between two of the biggest names in African football.
Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, the only club to win every CAF competition, share top spot with Kotoko on six points after defeating Merreikh 2-1 in the Mediterranean resort of Sousse. Defender Radhouane Felhi opened the scoring on 51 minutes at the Olympic Stadium, and Nigerian striker Emeka Opara added a second goal as the match entered the closing stage.
Striker Haytham Tambal pulled one goal back four minutes from full-time for Merreikh, runners-up to Club Sportif Sfaxien of Tunisia in the previous edition of the African equivalent of the European UEFA Cup.
Merreikh will enjoy home advantage when the teams meet again on Saturday in Omdurman, raising the prospect of the four contenders having six points each after four series of matches in the six-round mini-league.
Unfashionable Egyptian side Harras al-Hodoud replaced Sfaxien as leaders of Group A with a 3-1 triumph in a top-of-the-table showdown that delivered all the goals during the first half. Ahmed Eid and Ahmed Abdulghani gave the paramilitary outfit a two-goal lead within 17 minutes, Ivorian Blaise Kouassi reduced arrears and veteran Abdulhamid Bassiouni struck again for Harras six minutes before half-time.
Ghanaian goalkeeper William Mensah rescued Hodoud midway through the second half by pushing away a Mohamed Kadri drive at the expense of a corner, and Amr al-Daly squandered a late chance to claim a fourth Egyptian goal. Winless Club Africain of Tunisia entertain Angolan police team InterClube late Sunday at Al-Menzah Stadium in Tunis to complete the third round fixtures.