Joy for Casa Sport, worries for Pirates
Just one week after a debut champion was crowned in Côte d’Ivoire, there is a new name on the roll of honour in Senegal as Casa Sports won a decisive game away to snatch the title from Diambars, who had started the final day in the lead. AFAD Djekanou made sure of second place in Côte d’Ivoire and a slot in next years CAF Champions League, nipping the experienced ASEC Abidjan.
Senegal Ligue 1: A debut title
Casa Sport were crowned champions in Senegal for the first time after overcoming a two-point deficit to beat Diambars to the title. The match between the two was the effective championship decider at the end of the six-match play-off programme and means for a second successive year there is a debut champion in the west African country, following US Ouakam’s success in 2011.
Big game: Casa from Ziguinchor surprised by starting the away game without key striker Paul Emile Tendeng, who they sold last Friday to Dinamo Bucharest in Romania, but still upset the odds with the game’s only goal from Abdoulaye Diallo. It came after 20 minutes of the match at Saly where Diambars needed only a draw to win.
Headline-grabbers: The Thioune brothers - Ousseynou (Diambars) and Mame Saher (Casa Sports) - found themselves on opposite ends in the decisive match, shaking hands in a special pre-match ceremony. However, the younger brother Ousseynou ended up being sent off for throwing the ball at an opponent in frustration.
South Africa Premier League: Three-way tie
Maritzburg United caused a shock by beating big-spending Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 away in Pretoria and joined a three-way tie at the top of the standings after the first three rounds of the new season. Also on seven points are Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars, who played out a goalless draw in Bethlehem and negated each others' 100-per cent starts to the campaign.
Big game: Former Bundesliga winger Delron Buckley, playing his first season in his home league, scored twice as Maritzburg upset Sundowns. The goals came within three minutes of each other toward the end of the game and left home supporters fuming and demanding the axing of coach Johan Neeskens. Maritzburg, under the tutelage of German coach Ernst Middendorp, were expected to struggle this season, but they have upset the early odds.
Headline-grabbers: Moroka Swallows stung Orlando Pirates with three goals away in Soweto to leave the defending champions reeling at the end of their derby encounter. Swallows netted three in a game for the fourth successive match, while for Pirates it was another miserable Saturday night after losing by the same 3-0 scoreline at home the previous week to SuperSport United in the cup.
Côte d’Ivoire Super Division: Final places sorted
Sewe Sport won a first-ever Ivorian championship last weekend, and they will be joined by Academie de Football Amadou Diallo-Djekanou in the Champions League next term. AFAD finished with a 4-1 win over JCA and a better goal difference than ASEC, whose last match of the season was a 3-1 away win over Stella Abidjan.
Big game: AFAD quickly set about their task of securing victory in Treichville over JCA with a 20th-minute goal from Jean-Jaures Zougouri and a second just 120 seconds later from Kouakou Mansou. AFAD were aware they needed to stay ahead of ASEC on goal difference and so pressed for more. It was Zougouri (74th minute) and Mansou (82nd minute) who did the business again before a consolation goal was scored by JCA with four minutes left.
Headline-grabbers: Samba Diabate and Jean Jacques Bougouhi scored the goals in the last 20 minutes to carry ASEC to a 3-1 win over Stella and a place in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup. ASEC, who have won a record 24 Ivorian league championships, were behind at half-time, but equalised through an own-goal before a late rally to finish the season on a successful note.
Zimbabwe Premier League: Unbeaten but not clear
Highlanders extended to 20 matches their unbeaten run in the league, but they surprisingly find themselves just three points clear at the top of the standings. They are being rapidly hauled in despite not losing. Long-standing rivals Dynamos now have 43 points to Highlanders 46 and one game in hand.
Big game: Highlanders scored two quick goals at home in Bulawayo against Motor Action to stay on track for the title. Bhekimpilo Ncube opened the scoring after just eight minutes and Ariel Sibanda converted a penalty five minutes later. Another penalty, this time for Motor Action, was converted in the 50th minute by Morris Kadzola, but the visitors could not conjure up an equaliser.
Headline-grabbers: Moses Chunga, a legend for Harare giants Dynamos as both a player and coach, received a solid 4-0 spanking from his former club as he took over as coach of Gunners. It took Dynamos 43 minutes to break the deadlock, but once Tawanda Muparati scored, the flood gates opened. Dynamos, whose other goals came from Denver Mukamba (two) and Farai Mupasiri, have now won four in a row.
CA Bizertin went three points clear in Tunisia after an away win over Zarzis, but champions Esperance play a catch-up game on Tuesday. Union Douala extended their winning streak to eight games by beating Aigle Royal away and are now eight points clear in Cameroon.
Lesotho will start their new season on 8 September when Lesotho Correction Services begin their title defence against Joy FC.