Africa: Holders Wydad Shocked By Rivers in TotalEnergies CAF Champions League Group Stage Battle
Defending champions Wydad Athletic Club and Tunisia’s Espérance de Tunis were handed shock defeats in Nigeria in the first leg of the second preliminary round matches of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League matches played over the weekend.
Both sides suffered 2-1 defeats in West Africa and are now in tricky situations heading into the return leg at home next weekend.
Wydad were handed a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Rivers United who had to come from behind in Port Harcourt. Sambou Junior had given Wydad a 32nd minute lead but it lasted only three minutes as Malachi Owahuma levelled before Ghanaian Paul Acquah scored the winner in the second half.
CR Belouizdad also suffered a similar defeat in West Africa, going down to Mali’s Djoliba. Oumar Camara and Djibril Coulibaly scored in between Mohamed Belkhir’s equalizer, leaving the Algerians with a tough task in the return leg next weekend.
Meanwhile at the New Jos Stadium, Esperance suffered a similar defeat at the hands of Plateau United, with the game also following a similar script.
Anice Badri had given Esperance the lead after 28 minutes, bur the home side equalized through Emmanuel Uchegu in the 35th minute and Mustapha Yuga scored the winner at the stroke of halftime.
The two North Africa giants must now win their second leg matches at home this weekend, to earn a place in the group stages of the competition.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s 2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns and Tanzanian giants Simba SC were some of the biggest winners from the weekend’s first leg matches.
Sundowns have put one foot into another adventure in the group phases after thrashing Seychellois side La Passe 7-0 away from home. The result means that La Passe have to score eight unanswered goals in the second leg to overturn the result.
Gaston Sirino scored a brace with Grant Kekana, Aubrey Modiba, Sipho Mbule and Sphelele Mkhulise adding one each, on top of an own goal from Hiroy Jupitor.
Meanwhile, Simba earned a massive 3-1 victory away from home against Angola’s Primero de Agosto, putting them in a good position to progress into the group stage.
Clatous Chama, Israel Mwenda and Moses Phiri scored a goal each for Wekundu wa Msimbazi in Luanda with the home side grabbing a consolation off the penalty spot via Dago Thsibamba.
The Tanzanian side will need any kind of draw or win to progress and at worse, even a 2-0 loss can sail them through. But, they should be cautious of suffering a similar predicament to last season where they had won the first leg away from home but slipped in the return tie in Dar es Salaam.
Meanwhile in other results, last year’s losing finalists and record champions Al Ahly earned a slim 1-0 away victory against US Monastir of Tunisia with Mohamed Abdelmonem scoring at the stroke of 90 minutes.
Bitter rivals Zamalek also earned a similar victory against Burundi’s Flambeau du Centre, with the latter having agreed to play their home match in Alexandria.