African leaders keep noses in front
Recreativo Libolo lead in Angola at the halfway point of the season but had their lead cut at the weekend. They are unbeaten this season, as are Highlanders, who lead the league in Zimbabwe, while Esperance and CA Bizertin continue their battle for the title in Tunisia.
Angola GiraBola: Champs unbeaten at halfway mark
Recreativo Libolo’s defence of their title continues in unbeaten fashion, although they will view a home draw with fifth-placed Petro Atletico as something of a setback. The result allowed Primeiro Agosto to cut Recreativo's lead at the top to four points, while at the bottom, Nacional continued their losing run and have won a single game in the first half of the season.
Big game: Petro have never lost away at Libolo and kept up the tradition by holding the champions at bay in their fortress at Caala. Libolo obviously had a game plan to change that and set up several chances in an early assault on their visitor’s goal. But Petro weathered the storm and then maintained a balanced contest. “In the end I think we were the better team,” said the visitors' recently appointed coach, Miller Gomes.
Headline-grabbers: Primeiro Agosto striker Mingo Bile is top scorer in the league with ten goals after finding the net against Atletico Namibe. The army club were 2-0 up inside the first five minutes and when Bile scored in the 26th minute the result was settled.
Tunisia Ligue 1: Seven of the best
A seven-goal splurge by defending champions Esperance kept them in the lead for yet another week, but still it is only one point that separates them from CA Bizertin. Esperance won 7-0 against ES Hammam-Sousse but less than 24 hours later Bizerte triumphed 2-1 away to Stade Tunisien. Third-placed AS Marsa and CS Sfaxien, in fourth, are effectively out of the running after they played out a 1-1 draw.
Big game: Cameroon import Joseph Yannick Ndjeng scored two as Esperance notched their biggest win since November 2009, with Youssef Msakni opening the goals in the 36th minute. Just two months ago, Esperance scored a 6-0 win in the CAF Champions League against Dynamos of Zimbabwe.
Headline-grabbers: A late penalty from Mohamed Slama proved decisive as Bizerte continued their run of victories to five in a row and restored the title hopes they looked to have let slip just over two months ago. Fakhreddine Jaziri opened the scoring after 22 minutes and Slama converted a spot kick to make it 2-0, but Stade pulled one back almost immediately to ensure a nail-biting finish.
Zimbabwe Premier League: Leaders stumble
Highlanders kept up their unbeaten record in the league but none of the top three sides were able to win at the weekend. Highlanders drew 1-1 with Harare City while Shabanie Mines in second were also held at home by Chicken Inn. Third-placed FC Platinum lost away at Monomotapa, and Highlanders still have a three-point lead with the season now a third of the way through.
Big game: Veteran midfielder Mthulisi Maphosa netted an early penalty to give Highlanders the lead at home at Bulawayo’s Barbourfields Stadium, but let the points slip when Godfrey Nguwodzawo equalised with 15 minutes left. Highlanders have now drawn their last three games.
Headline-grabbers: Blue Rangers moved off the bottom as they finally won a league match 12 games into the new season. They had previously managed just three draws, but a goal after just four minutes from Tigere Mupatanganda was enough to ensure a 1-0 away win over fellow strugglers Hardbody. “It was only a matter of time before we started collecting points,” insisted their coach Misheck Marimo, formerly in charge of the Zimbabwe national team.
Kenya Premier League: Tusker again lead the way
Tusker are back in the lead but only because they were involved in the only fixture of the weekend and have now played one match more than the rest of the pack. A 2-0 triumph over relegation-threatened Posta Rangers means they are now clear of Sofapaka, who had lost their chance to go clear when they were beaten last Wednesday
Big game: Tusker were playing an advance fixture because of their upcoming participation in the East and Central African Club Championship and easily beat a 10-man Rangers, who had a man sent off after just 25 minutes. Joshua Oyoo and Erasto Ndege scored on either side of the interval to ensure a tenth win of the league season.
Headline-grabbers: Paul Were’s debut goal for AFC Leopards against front running Sofapaka in midweek continued to dominate the Kenya press. Were signed from Tusker in the mid-season break and made an immediate impact with the only goal of the 1-0 win that denied Sofapaka a chance to go top. Were was chosen to play for Kenya two years ago while still a teenager.
Jigawa Golden Stars’ 1-0 home win over Ocean Boys was the only league match in Nigeria over the weekend and enabled the victors to move out of the relegation zone.
The referee called off the top-of-the-table clash in Senegal between Casa Sports and Diambars after a linesman was struck by an object thrown from the crowd with ten minutes left and the score 1-1.
An action-packed 3-2 away win over AS Vutuka means AS V Club are now tied at the top in Congo DR with TP Mazembe Englebert.