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
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
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