Tunisian standard-bearers, Esperance and CS Sfaxien moved closer towards the next round, returning unscathed from their trips to East Africa.
The two sides pulled off victories away from home on a weekend that saw holders Ahly of Egypt tumble in Dar es Salaam, just as former winners’, Enyimba and Raja Club Athletic in the first leg matches of the 1/16th round of the Orange CAF Champions League.
In Nairobi, Esperance of Tunisia made sure their 1987 loss to Kenya champions, Gor Mahia in the defunct CAF Cup Winners’ Cup counted for little, beating their hosts 3-2 at a packed Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.
Uganda-import Dan Sserunkuma fired Gor Mohia in the lead on 12 minutes from the spot before Ahmed Akaichi drew level for Esperance, now managed by Dutchman Ruud Krol before half time. Two minutes past the hour-mark, striker Yannick N’djeng put Esperance up but Haron Shakava restored parity on 77 minutes. A minute from time, Haythem Jouini struck the winner to give the ‘Yellow and Gold’ a narrow win into the second leg.
Elsewhere in Addis Ababa, CS Sfaxien accounted for Ethiopian champions, Dedebit 2-1 and put their noses in front. Playmaker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef and Zied Derbali scored for Sfaxien in each half whilst Dawit Fekadu netted in between for the Ethiopians.
“It was a good performance from my team. We managed to achieve a positive result in the wake of difficult conditions, and this is a good start ahead of the second leg,” Hamadi Dhaou told reporters after the game.
Skipper Nadir Haroub led by example scoring the match winner on 82 minutes to hand Young Africans a lone goal win over Ahly in Dar es Salaam, and their first win against an Egyptian opponent
In the south-east Nigerian city of Aba, visiting AS Real put the brakes on the ‘People’s Elephant’ as Enyimba are nicknamed, returning to their base with a 2-1 win. Second half strikes from Moctar Mohamed Cisse and Amadou Samake cancelled Sibi Gwar’s 44th minute opener, leading to a result which puts Enyimba’s chances hanging.
Another stunning result was recorded in Conakry, where Horoya nicked a lone goal win against Raja Club Athletic of Morocco. Moussa Keita scored the only goal on 27 minutes.
There was yet another shocker in Bujumbura, where Flambeau de l’EST stunned last year’s semi-finalists Coton Sport of Cameroon. Hussein Shabani’s fourth minute strike separated the two sides.
It was double delight for DR Congo’s representatives, TP Mazembe and AS Vita Club, both securing vital away draws against Dynamos of Zimbabwe (0-0) and Les Astres of Cameroon (1-1) in Harare and Douala. Four-time winners, Mazembe were cruising on Jonas Sakuwaha’s opener on 65 minutes from the spot, only for Franck Bidias to draw level on 75 minutes.
In Durban, Kaizer Chiefs whitewashed Liga Muculmana of Mozambique 4-0 with knowledge Musona, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Matthew Rusike and Erick Mathoho the scorers for the South African champions.
AC Leopards moved within sight of the next round thanks to a 4-1 thumping of visiting Primeiro de Agosto of Angola in the Congolese city of Dolisie. Angolan’s other representative Kabuscorp slipped to a lone goal loss in Cairo to five-time winners, Zamalek of Egypt. Central defender Mahmoud Fathallah headed in the match winner on 55 minutes.
Ugandan champions, Kampala City Council (KCC) continued their fairytale story by snatching a 2-2 draw against Nkana FC of Zambia in Kitwe. The visitors went up on 25 minutes before Ronald Kampamba and Shadrack Musonda put Nkana in the lead. On 80 minutes, Brian Majwega restored parity by converting a penalty on 80 minutes.
Elsewhere in Bamako, Stade Malien and Al Hilal of Sudan played out a barren draw whilst Berekum Chelsea of Ghana were held to a 1-1 draw by Ahly Benghazi of Libya in Berekum.
The second leg matches will take place on the weekend of 7-9 March with the winners advancing to the 1/8th round.