Eventful weekend for North Africa's hopefuls
North African clubs took the first step towards continuing their dominance of the CAF Champions League by securing several good results in their first leg, first round matches. The winners of the 16 first-round ties will advance to the second round, with the eight winners of that stage going through to the lucrative group phase of the competition. The winner of the event will represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco later this year.
Game of the week
Tusker 1-2 Al Ahly
The competition's record seven-time winners Al Ahly travelled to Nairobi for their game against Tusker but struggled through the first half. Coach Hossam El Badry brought on Emad Moteab for El-Sayed Hamdi and the international striker made all the difference, scoring the opening goal just three minutes after the break. He added another shortly before the hour-mark, and even though Jesse Were pulled one back for the home side, Moteab's two goals gave the defending champions an important away win in difficult Nyayo National Stadium. It was Moteab's second brace against Tusker, having also scored both goals in Ahly's 2-0 win in 2006.
Primeiro de Agosto 0-1 Esperance
Although Esperance have twice won the competition - the last time being two years ago - the Angolan runners-up fancied their chances against the Tunisian team, and were hoping that a home result in the first leg would provide the foundation to advance to the next round. Although the home supporters were disappointed a minute from the break when midfielder Iheb Msakni headed home a free-kick to give the Blood and Gold the all-important away win, it was still a narrow result that will continue to increase the growing reputation of Angolan domestic football.
Burkina Faso international Ocansey Mandela scored twice for Côte d'Ivoire champions Sewe Sports as they surprisingly thumped Al-Hilal 4-1. The Sudanese outfit have been one of the most consistent sides in the competition over the last decade, but they lost out dramatically to the Ivorians in their second appearance. There were mixed results for the two Nigerian clubs involved in the competition as Kano Pillars secured a 4-1 victory at home against DR Congo club AC Leopards, while Enugu Rangers, who finished second in the league behind Pillars last season, played out a goalless draw in Burundi against Vital'O.
Ndumiso Mabena headed home a corner in the sixth minute to give South African champions Orlando Pirates, who won the competition in 1995, a 1-0 victory in Zambia against Zanaco. Zimbabwean club Dynamos, who lost the 1988 final and advanced to the semi-finals ten years later, slumped to a 3-0 defeat in Tunisia against CA Bizertin, while Recreativo do Libolo won 2-1 at home against Al-Merreikh. The final games saw JSM Bejaia play to a goalless draw at home against Asante Kotoko, FUS Rabat won 3-0 against Union Douala and ASFA Yennenga won 2-1 in Burkina Faso against ES Setif. Coton Sport won 1-0 at Ivorian club AFAD Djekanou, while Stade Malien - whose last appearance in the second round was back to 2003 - won 2-1 in Senegal against Casa Sport.
Player of the week
After Ahmed Gaafar missed a good opportunity for Zamalek against Vita Club in the second half, the home crowd in Alexandria's Army Stadium turned against the striker. The 27-year-old turned from villain to hero shortly afterwards, though, when he scored from a fantastic shot from just inside the area. Frustrated by the fans' abuse, Gaafar tore off his shirt, threw it away and demanded to be substituted. He pushed away team-mates who tried to restrain him before calming down and continuing with the game, which ended 1-0 for the home side.
10 – The positive goal difference for Ethiopian club Saint George in their three Champions League matches this year. A 3-0 victory at Zanzibar club Jamhuri in the first leg of the preliminary round was followed by a convincing 5-0 win at home. They then secured an impressive 2-0 home win over Djoliba from Mali on the weekend in their first leg match in the first round.
What they said
“I have a formidable team, and we will go to the Democratic Republic of Congo and fight. All is not lost even though we are trailing by one goal from the first match. We have nothing to lose," Madinda Ndlovu, Mochudi Centre Chiefs coach, after his side lost 1-0 at home against four-time champions TP Mazembe.
Have your say
Can the five-time champions Zamalek hold on to their 1-0 lead against AS Vita Club in the return leg in the Democratic Republic of Congo?