Zamalek fight back, Esperance hang on
It remains a tight if somewhat predictable fight in both Egypt and Tunisia, where the leagues are at the business end of the season. In Angola, the leaders lost for only the second time this season to allow the rest of the field to catch up, and the battle in Nigeria is becoming more bruising as the second half of the season is now well underway.
Egypt Premier League: Giants battle again
Al Ahly’s hopes of a come-from-behind success in the league, and a seventh successive title, gained further momentum at the weekend with a 2-0 win over Petrojet. It means the Cairo giants are now level with Zamalek in the standings, with the upcoming derby on 29 June emerging as perhaps the decisive match in the campaign.
Big game: Al Ahly, who have not lost a domestic league match since Manuel Jose took over at the start of the year, had to play the last 30 minutes against Petrojet with ten men after the sending-off of captain Ahmed Hassan, but they were already two goals ahead and had effectively sewn up the result after Ahmed Fathy and Sayed Moawad scored on either side of the interval.
Headline-grabbers: For the seventh time this season leaders Zamalek fought their way back after going a goal down, scoring three unanswered second-half goals at Police Union after being behind at half-time. Salah Ashour caught Zamalek out just before the break, but it was one-way traffic thereafter as Shikabala extended his lead at the head of the scoring charts with a free-kick equaliser, before Ahmed Gaafar and Mohamed Ibrahim completed the comeback.
Nigeria Premier League: Wolves show their teeth
After a resounding 4-1 midweek win over leaders Dolphin FC, Warri Wolves inched closer to the top with a valuable away point at the weekend as they drew 1-1 at Ocean Boys. Seven points from their last four encounters has seen Wolves move into third place, eight points off the top as both Dolphin and second-placed Sunshine Stars did not play league games at the weekend.
Big game: Victor Namo scored twice as Kano Pillars stayed in contention with a thumping 3-0 win over Heartland. Both Namo’s goals came in the closing stages after Gambo Mohamed had netted the opening goal seven minutes into the second half. Pillars are fourth in the standings after previously losing ground with two losses this month.
Headline-grabbers: Uche Nwofor has been linked with a move to a European club in the next few weeks after his performances at the CAF African Youth Championships in April, but despite all the speculation swirling around his head, he stayed cool to claim the only goal for Enugu Rangers as they beat traditional rivals Shooting Stars in Abeokuta.
Tunisia Ligue 1: Same pair chasing the title
Two points still separate perennial rivals Esperance and Etoile Sahel, who between them have won 12 of the last 14 league titles. Both sides won at the weekend and now have six games to go in the campaign, none of which are against each other.
Big game: Esperance scored early away at ES Hammam-Sousse, where Oussama Darragi converted a seventh-minute penalty, and clung on for a vital three points. It was the fourth win in a row for Esperance, who looked the more enterprising side but had to contend with a stubborn home defence set to prove a point against the league’s leaders.
Headline-grabbers: Mossaab Sassi scored two first-half goals for Etoile Sahel in a 4-2 away win at AS Marsa as he continued to enhance his reputation as a potential star of the future. A past participant for Tunisia at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the 21-year-old is now seeking regular game time at the club and looking to reward the faith put in his ability by coach Mondher Kbaier.
Angola GiraBola: Petro’s romantic boost
Love was in the air and also on the ground as the footballer with the most romantic name in the game scored a double to put Petro Atletico one point off the leadership of the GiraBola. Kabuscorp lost at struggling Academica Soyo, but, with a four-point lead on their closest rivals before the weekend, could not be knocked off their perch.
Big game: With just one defeat from their opening 11 games, unfancied Kabuscorp were looking like realistic contenders. But they came back down to earth with a thud at Soyo, where Francisco scored the only goal of the match for the struggling home side and lifted them clear of the relegation zone.
Headline-grabbers: Arsenio Cabungula has carried the footballing moniker ‘Love’ throughout his career, including for Angola at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ finals in Germany. Now 32, he continues to score regularly and his double against Santos at the November 11 Stadium on the outskirts of Luanda took his season’s league tally to nine goals.
ASO Chlef’s dream of a first-ever Algerian title continued to move towards reality as they beat AS Khroub 2-0 at the weekend and are now potentially one win away from taking the championship.
Stade Malien maintained their four-point lead over rivals Djoliba after both won in Mali.
Power Dynamos are the new leaders in the Zambian Super Division after beating Nchanga Rangers 2-0 away with goals from Lottie Phiri and Joseph Sitali.