Ahly open CAFCL defence with win in Niger

Ahly open CAFCL defence with win in Niger
Al-Ahly players celebrate

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Dec 23, 2020. 23:06

Wednesday 23 December saw reigning African champions Al Ahly of Egypt open the defence of their CAF Champions League crown with a win on the road, while the likes of TP Mazembe, Al Hilal, Stade Malien and Al Merrikh also secured important victories in first round, first-leg matches played across the continent.

Ahly, who claimed a record-extending ninth CAFCL title less than a month ago, were 1-0 winners in Niger over hosts AS SONIDEP, with Aliou Dieng’s first-half goal putting them well on course for the group phase.

Sudanese sides Al Merrikh and Al Hilal were triumphant over Nigeria’s Enyimba (3-0 at home) and Ghana’s Asante Kotoko (1-0 away) respectively, while DR Congo heavyweights TP Mazembe overpowered AS Bouenguidi in Gabon.

Stade Malien also stole headlines with a 1-0 home win over Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca, while South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs continue to struggle in front of goal after a goalless stalemate at home to Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto.

Today’s scheduled clash between Algeria’s CR Belouizdad and Kenyan side Gor Mahia has been postponed to Saturday 26 December; the first-leg match of the MC Alger v CS Sfaxien tie is set to be played two days later; and Zamalek have advanced with a bye over Gazelle after the Chad club failed to honour the fixture.

In the CAF Confederation Cup, Nigeria’s Rivers United were 2-0 winners in South Africa over Bloemfontein Celtic thanks to goals from Godwin Aguda and Fortune Omoniwari, while Cameroon’s Coton Sport and DRC club DC Motema Pembe were also away victors over Zambia’s Green Eagles and Angolan side Bravo do Marquis respectively.

Defending CAFCC champions RS Berkane were held 0-0 in Mauritania by Tevragh-Zeina, Senegal’s powerful ASC Diaraf succumbed 1-0 at home to Ivorians San Pedro and the biggest win of the day – across either competition – came from Morocco’s TAS Casablanca, who thrashed Benin’s ESAE 4-0 thanks to strikes from Mouhcine Rabja, Mahmoud Bentayg, Ali Acha and Ayyoub Enebgoui.

The return-leg matches will be held on 5-6 January 2021. The 16 winners in the Champions League advance into the group phase, while the losers ‘drop’ into the Confederation Cup and face that competition’s 16 winners in the playoff round.

CAF Club results, Wednesday 23 December

Champions League

Al Merrikh 3-0 Enyimba

Nkana 1-1 Petro de Luanda

FC Platinum 1-0 Simba SC

AS SONIDEP 0-1 Al Ahly

AS Bouenguidi 1-2 TP Mazembe

Asante Kotoko 0-1 Al Hilal

Al Ahly Benghazi 0-0 Esperance de Tunis

Kaizer Chiefs 0-0 Primeiro de Agosto

RC Abidjan 1-1 Horoya AC

Stade Malien 1-0 Wydad Casablanca

CR Belouizdad v Gor Mahia – Postponed

Confederation Cup

AS Kigali 2-0 KCCA

Green Eagles 0-2 Coton Sport

US Monastir 2-0 Al Ahly Tripoli

Namungo 2-0 El Hilal El Obeid

Bravo do Marquis 0-1 DC Motema Pembe

Bloemfontein Celtic 0-2 Rivers United

Tevragh-Zeina 0-0 RS Berkane

ASC Diaraf 0-1 FC San Pedro

TAS Casablanca 4-0 ESAE

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