Tunisian, Moroccan clubs rise to top
Club Africain of Tunisia and Moghreb Fes of Morocco took over leadership of the two CAF Confederation Cup groups this weekend after home victories. A 2-0 win over InterClube lifted 1991 African champions Club above the Angolans to the top of Group A while Moghreb pipped Sunshine Stars 1-0 to replace the Nigerians as Group B pacesetters.
InterClube and Sunshine were suffering their first pool losses in the third series of matches and will get a chance for revenge at the end of this month when they enjoy home advantage in the return fixtures. After a shock 2-0 triumph for Daring Club Motema Pembe of Congo DR at JS Kabylie of Algeria on Friday, predictability returned to the second-tier African club competition 24 hours later.
Club needed to win after being held goalless at home by Kaduna United of Nigeria two weeks ago and they overcame police outfit InterClube despite having Chaker Reguii sent off by the Egyptian referee on the stroke of half-time. Defenders scored both goals with Mohamed Yacoubi putting the Tunisians ahead just past the half-hour mark in the opening half at the 45,000-seat El-Menzah Stadium in Tunis.
Mid-year signing Braulio Diniz conceded an own goal ten minutes after half-time to seal the fate of InterClube, who held Kaduna away and defeated ASEC Mimosas of Côte d'Ivoire at home in earlier outings. Former African Champions League winners ASEC host Kaduna in Abidjan later today needing maximum points to ignite their campaign after only drawing at home against Africain before the unrewarding journey to Luanda.
Abdelhadi Halhoul was the toast of northern Moroccan city Fes as his 29th-minute goal for Moghreb ended the perfect record of African rookies Sunshine from south-western town Akure. Precise, one-touch passing carved a gaping hole in the heart of the visitors defence and Halhoul broke through to poke the ball wide of the advancing goalkeeper for a second solitary-goal home win in a row by Moghreb.
Defeat completed a frustrating week for Stars, who flew to Fes without visas after claiming the Moroccan embassy in Abuja stalled the process while an expired passport meant coach Gbenga Ogunbote and two players joined the squad only on match day.