Races tighten up in Nigeria, Zambia
Al Hilal of Sudan stretched run of successive wins to 16, Recreativo Libolo are still unbeaten after 19 rounds in Angola and the title race in Nigeria is back on with two sides sharing the top of the standings.
FIFA.com rounds-up the major action from Africa's biggest leagues over the weekend.
Nigeria Premier League: Pillars catch up to Rangers
Leaders Enugu Rangers suffered a reverse after three successive league wins but still have a slender lead after being beaten at Shooting Stars. Rangers are ahead on goal difference from Kano Pillars, who beat champions Dolphins 2-0 as league action resumed after a fortnight of cup matches. A 2-0 win for Lobi Stars over Niger Tornadoes keep them right up with the leaders.
Big game: Moses Ogaga got the goal that counted at Ibadan as Stars took advantage of a weakened Rangers side, hit by injury and the absence of captain James Okwuosa, off on trial in South Africa. Rangers also lost in recent cup competition, and their bad form continued to a loss that was their first defeat by Stars in the last seven years.
Headline-grabbers: Bottom-placed Ocean Boys had their game against fellow strugglers Kaduna United called off because officials were concerned over a lack of security at the Samson Siasia stadium in Yenagoa. Boys have already forfeited points this season when they failed to pitch for a recent game at Kano Pillars. Rising Stars, just above Ocean Boys, won vital points by beating Kwara United.
Angola GiraBola: Relentless march of Recreativo
Recreativo Libolo stretched to 19 games their unbeaten run in the GiraBola and remain 11 points clear of their nearest challengers after yet another tough away win, this time against InterClube in Luanda. Primeiro Agosto remain a distant second after they won away at bottom placed Nacional Benguela. Third placed Petro Atletico are 13 points off the pace.
Big game: Coach Zeca Amaral called it potentially a pivotal moment in their bid to retain the GiraBola as Viola scored just four minutes from time at Luanda’s Estadio 22 de Junho for a hard fought away triumph. For Inter’s veteran Portuguese coach Bernardino Pedroto it was akin to a ‘snatch and grab’ robbery as he felt his side had been superior over the 90 minutes.
Headline-grabbers: Petro Atletico remain the most successful club in GiraBola history and are making a surge, if somewhat belated, up the standings in recent weeks as if to emphasise that point amid all the headlines for the unbeaten leaders Libolo. Petro’s 1-0 win over fellow Luanda side AS Aviacao was their fourth in a row and came with the first touch of Senegal substitute Ben Traore after coming on in the 77th minute.
Sudan champions league: Hilal make it 16 wins in a row
Al Hilal’s goal feast continued at the weekend as they beat Jazeerat Al Feel 3-0 away to win for a 16th successive game in the Sudani league. The result keeps them comfortably ahead of their perennial rivals Al Merreikh. Al Hilal have 49 points to Al Merreikh’s 43 and have scored ten goals in their last three encounters.
Big game: Al Hilal’s foreign imports continued their hot streak in front of goal as Ibrahima Sane from Senegal scored twice and Edward Sadomba, the Zimbabwean forward, got the third goal from the penalty spot. Sane was denied the chance of a hat-trick when a header from close range was called back for offside. But he has scored six goals in his last three games.
Headline-grabbers: The return to the Al Merreikh squad of veteran Egypt international goalkeeper Essam Al Hadari offers the hope of a potential late surge in the league although immediate concerns for three Sudani clubs – Al Merreikh, Al Hilal and Al Ahli Shandi – is participation in the same group in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Zambia Super Division: Leaders hauled in
Leaders Zanaco do not play until midweek but still lead, although now by just one point after Zesco United comfortably overcame struggling Nakambala Leopards 4-0 to stay second. Champions Power Dynamos are also back up to two points off the leaders after a 2-0 win away over National Assembly.
Big game: A quick start with a third-minute goal from Graven Chitalu gave Dynamos the lead away in Lusaka and it was doubled exactly an hour later by Simon Bwalya. For the champions it marked the first time they had won away against a Lusaka-based club this year.
Headline-grabbers: Zeddy Saileti, former Zambia international who played for almost a decade in Finland, made a winning start to his new coaching career at Nkana FC as they beat Green Buffaloes 1-0, ending a streak of 13 super games without a win. The goal came from Edward Kangwa on the stroke of half-time.
Djoliba were crowned champions of Mali in midweek after beating Centre Salif Keita to secure the title with three games to play.
Senegal’s four-team final championship play-offs are set to resume at the weekend with Casa Sport and Diambars sharing top place.
Union Douala’s 3-1 win over Renaissance Ngoumoou has given them a three point lead in Cameroon’s Elite One.