This weekend the CAF Champions league returned with action from the two groups. On Saturday, the tie of the round was undoubtedly in Pretoria where Egyptian giants, Zamalek were in town to face 1995 champions Orlando Pirates.
Having already smashed three past the Kings of African Club football Al Ahly of Egypt, Pirates had suddenly forced the rest of us to sit up and take note. They proved that their win of Ahly was no fluke, brushing aside Zamalek in swashbuckling form in a comprehensive 4-1 win.
South African Diane Klate capped off a very fine performance on the day with a hand in two of the goals and rounding off the scoring with the fourth. Other scorers on the night were Lennox Bacela, Tlou Segolela, Sifiso Myeni and Zamalek’s Mahmoud Shikabala, whose goal came just two minutes after Pirates’ first in the 27th minute.
In the other Group A game, Al Ahly claimed their first win of this year’s competition after an opening day 1-1 draw against compatriots and rivals Zamalek and that defeat to Pirates. Walid Souliman’s strike was enough to hand under fire coach Mohamed Youssef his first victory of this year’s competition against AC leopards of Congo.
As it stands Group A after the first round of games, Pirates sit comfortably at the top with seven points and a three point gap over both Leopards and Ahly. Leopards, the only side in the group who haven’t won this competition before have given a good account of themselves so far in what is undoubtedly the group of death. Zamalek lie bottom with a single point after two defeats and are dangerously close to missing out on a semi-final berth.
Esperance of Tunisia went top of what looks like a very balanced Group B after a hard fought 1-0 win away to Sewe Sport of Ivory Coast. The Tunisian outfit on paper is the strongest side but after the first two rounds of games it was all square with all 4 teams on 3 points.
In the other group game, Coton Sport of Cameroon beat Recreativo do Libolo of Angola 2-1 to share top spot with Esperance. The two are separated by a goal difference of two. The Cameroonian side in recent years have come to the fore in the continent’s biggest club showpiece and they showed their superiority with a convincing display.
Goals from the tournament’s leading marksman, Alexis Yougouda (6), and Emmanuel Mbongo were enough to secure this vital win.
A win in the return leg in two weeks time will but settle the two semifinal spots in Group B.
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