Africa: Reigning Champions USM Alger Hold On to Secure Group Stage Place
Reigning champions of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup, USM Alger survived a scare at home from a highly-spirited FUS Rabat in a north African duel to narrowly go through to the group stages of the competition.
The closely contested encounter was preceded by a 1-1 first leg draw in Rabat, which set up an appetising second leg tie with both sides having a fairly good chance of progressing.
However, it was the defending champions who showed their championship credentials with a disciplined performance that saw the game conclude with a goalless stalemate for the Algerian giants to narrowly go through and continue their title defense campaign.
In Cairo, Future FC joined their Egyptian counterparts, Zamalek in the group stages of the competition after reversing a 1-0 first leg defeat to Tanzania’s Singida Fountain Gate to advance 4-1 on aggregate.
In another encounter up north, Tunisia’s Club Africain also overcame a tough assignment in reversing a 2-0 first leg defeat to Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar Kenema with an impressive 3-0 victory at home to narrowly advance 3-2 on aggregate.
In Congo, Diables Noirs cruised into the group stages with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Zambia’s MUZA FC. The Congolese side advance with a 4-1 aggregate score, following their 2-1 away victory in Zambia in the first leg.
Tournament debutants, Sekhukhune United eliminated their more fancied opponents, Saint Eloi Lupopo after Tiklas Thutlwa came off the bench to find the equaliser on the hour mark for the match to end 1-1 and see the South Africans through to the group stages in their maiden appearance with a 4-2 aggregate scoreline.
Nigeria will be represented by Rivers United after a comfortable 2-0 victory at home over Burkina Faso’s Etoile Filante sees them advance on the same aggregate scoreline following their goalless away draw in the first leg.
In Angola, Academica do Lobito, secured their place in the group stages with a comfortable 3-0 victory at home over Al Merreikh following a goalless stalemate in Sudan.