Tuesday Mar 16, 2021. 23:07
Tuesday’s Matchday 4 action in the group stage of the CAF Champions League saw three teams rubber-stamp their berths in the quarterfinals, while last season’s runners-up, Zamalek of Egypt, are all but gone after a home loss.
The White Knights were beaten 1-0 at the Cairo International Stadium by Esperance de Tunis in one of two Group D night matches – the other of which saw MC Alger defeat Teungueth by the same score in Algiers.
The Blood and Gold’s victory was secured by a second-half strike from Hamdou Elhouni, seeing them join Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca in quarterfinal qualification. MCA, meanwhile, edged their Senegalese visitors thanks to Mehdi Benaldjia, leaving them needing just one point from their remaining two games to secure progression – which means Zamalek require a miracle if they are to avoid a group stage exit.
The afternoon matches saw Simba SC and Al Ahly put themselves in strong positions to advance as the top two from Group A. Simba are all but sure to qualify for the quarterfinals, after a 3-0 win at home to Al Merrikh – courtesy of goals from Luis Miquissone, Mohamed Husseini and Mutshimba Mugalu – left them top with 10 points.
Ahly, meanwhile, claimed a much-needed 3-0 away win over AS Vita in Kinshasa to take a firm grasp of second place with seven points – three ahead of the third-placed DRC side. Mohamed Sherif, Mohamed Magdy and Taher Mohamed netted for Pitso Mosimane’s side in a convincing win at Stade des Martyrs.
The other afternoon clash saw CR Belouizdad and Hilal continue their winless runs in Group B, as they drew 0-0 in Omdurman. This result kept TP Mazembe in the running for the quarterfinals as they are just a point behind the former pair despite a 1-0 loss away to Mamelodi Sundowns in Tshwane in one of three early-evening games.
The South African side is guaranteed top spot in Group B thanks to Lebohang Maboe’s first-half goal and they are now the only team with a 100 percent record in the group phase, as both Group C matches ended goalless.
Leaders Wydad Casablanca were held 0-0 in Conakry by nearest chasers Horoya AC (but the result was still enough for the Moroccans to secure progression), and Kaizer Chiefs remain level on points with the Guinean side after their 0-0 stalemate in Angola against hosts Petro de Luanda.
The Champions League will return with Matchday 5 fixtures in early April, following the impending international break.
CAFCL Matchday 4 results, Wednesday 16 March
Al Hilal 0-0 CR Belouizdad
AS Vita 0-3 Al Ahly
Simba SC 3-0 Al Merrikh
Horoya AC 0-0 Wydad Casablanca
Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 TP Mazembe
Petro de Luanda 0-0 Kaizer Chiefs
MC Alger 1-0 Teungueth FC
Zamalek 0-1 Esperance de Tunis