CAFCL wraps with narrow loss for AmaZulu

CAFCL wraps with narrow loss for AmaZulu
Zakaria El Wardi of Raja Casablanca challenges Thembela Sikhakhane of Amazulu during the CAF Champions League 2021/22 football match between Raja Casablanca and Amazulu held at Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca, Morocco on 12 February 2022 ©BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Feb 12, 2022. 23:07

The CAF Champion League brought its group stage, Matchday 1 action to a close on Saturday night with AmaZulu falling to a narrow defeat away to Raja Casablanca, but the real headlines were made elsewhere by heavyweights Zamalek and Esperance de Tunis.


Usuthu, making their debut in the premier African club competition, put in a gritty performance against the Green Eagles – who are the reigning CAF Confederation Cup title holders – but ultimately succumbed 1-0 thanks to a strike midway through the second half from Mohsine Moutaouali.


Saturday also featured a crushing 4-0 win for Esperance de Tunis over group stage debutants Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana. Mohamed Ben Romdhane scored a hat-trick for the Blood and Gold, who took firm control of Group C.


Elsewhere, Algeria’s ES Setif claimed a valuable 1-0 win in Conakry over Guinean side Horoya AC – with a goal early in the second half from Ahmed Kendouci – while the surprise result of the weekend came in Cairo where Zamalek were held 2-2 by Petro de Luanda.


The Angolan visitors established a stunning 2-0 lead in the first half with goals from Gleison and Vidinho, but the White Knights fought back for a share of the spoils, as Youssef Ibrahim Obama reduced the deficit and Mahmoud Hamdi, also known as El-Wensh, struck deep in injury time at the end of the game to level the score.


Friday’s action featured an impressive opening to Group D proceedings for Wydad Casablanca, who crushed Angola’s Sagrada Esperanca 3-0 in Morocco thanks to goals from Achraf Dari, Yahya Jabrane and Guy Mbenza.


South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns also got off to a fine start in Group A by defeating Al Hilal of Sudan 1-0 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium – with an early goal from Themba Zwane – while Group C’s north African derby between Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel and Algerian side CR Belouizdad ended in a goalless stalemate.


Matchday 2 will be played next weekend (Friday 18 and Saturday 19 February), and will feature the return of reigning African kings Al Ahly. The Egyptian giants’ Matchday 1 fixture against Al Merrikh was postponed to early next month due to their participation in the FIFA Club World Cup.


CAFCL Matchday 1 results


Friday 11 February


Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 Al Hilal

Etoile du Sahel 0-0 CR Belouizdad

Wydad Casablanca 3-0 Sagrada Esperanca


Saturday 12 February


Horoya AC 0-1 ES Setif

Raja Casablanca 1-0 AmaZulu

Esperance de Tunis 4-0 Jwaneng Galaxy

Zamalek 2-2 Petro de Luanda


*Al Ahly v Al Merrikh to be played on March 5







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