The CAF Champions League group stage has already seen a few upsets and we are only 2 gameweeks into Africa’s biggest club competition.
Al Ahly, TP Mazambe and Zamalek, the 3 most successful African clubs all dropped points in what was an exciting week for African football fans and football (CAF Champions League) bettors.
Record 9-time CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly lost 1-0 to Simba in Tanzania in front of 30,000 fans.
The home team caused an upset by beating the defending champions who made it to the semifinals of the FIFA Club World Cup and just ended up losing only their 2nd game under Pitso Mosimane.
Mozambique international Luis Miquissone, gave the Tanzanian side the victory with a thunderous strikejust outside the box to score past Al Ahly goalkeeper and captain Mohamed El Shanawy, in the 31st minute.
This loss was a big setback for the Egyptian champions as they find themselves in 3rd, outside the qualification spots for the quarterfinal stage. However, they have 4 games left to turn things around and you can expect a strong response from last year’s treble winners.
Al Ahly was not the only team that failed to win, however. 5-time champions TP Mazembe struggled in Sudan when they faced Al Hilal as the game ended 0-0. Cameroon’s Martial Zemba Ikoung was sent off towards the end of the game to make matters worse for DR Congo’s champions.
Al Ahly’s Egyptian rivals, Zamalek have had a disappointing start to their Champions League campaign as they have 2 draws in their first 2 games. Zamalek played out another frustrating draw against Senegalese side Teungueth in Rufisque. The Senegal champions made it extremely difficult for the 5-time CAF champions and the Egyptian side looked far from its best.
Group A, which features Al Ahly and Simba, saw DR Congo’s AS Vita Club and Sudan’s Al Merrikh facing off in the other tie of the group. Vita Club secured the 3 points with a comprehensive 4-1 victory after going down 1-0 in the 8th minute.
The Congolese side found its mojo after that as Obed Mukokiani bagged a brace and Djuma Shabani also scored. Amede Masaai made it 4 to finish off the tie in handsome fashion.
These results meant that Simba continued with its perfect record with 2 wins in the first 2 games as AS Vita and Al Ahly sit level with 3 points each. Al Merrikh have failed to notch a point and it will be difficult for the Sudanese side to take points off any of the other 3 teams in their group.
Group B that features Al Hilal and TP Mazembe, will see the other two teams of the group – Algeria’s CR Belouizdad and South Africa‘s Mamelodi Sundowns face off on 28th February.
Mamelodi will be favourites to win that and make it 2 in 2 to stay top of Group B. Mazembe’s 2nd draw puts them in 2nd still with 2 points, 1 point ahead of Belouizdad as Al Hilal stay on 0.
Group C features Moroccan heavyweights Wydad Casablanca who won their first game of the group stage 1-0 against Angola’s Petro de Luanda. Wydad has been the most consistent team in the CAF Champions League having won the tournament once, reached the final on another occasion and the semifinals twice over the last 5 seasons.
In the other match of the group, debutants Kaizer Chiefs from South Africa, were held to a 0-0 draw by Guinea’s Horoya in Soweto.
The draw means Horoya stays on top of Group C with 4 points but Wydad will be expected to take over that spot since they have a game in hand and just sit 1 point behind the Guinean side. Petro de Luanda have now lost both of their games so will have a tough task ahead of them.
Group D features Zamalek and Teungueth. Teungueth’s fantastic performance did not suggest that the team was a newcomer in CAF’s premier club competition. Zamalek is not the only multiple Champions League winning side in the group, however, with 4-time champions Esperance of Tunisia also being a part of the group.
Esperance stayed on top of Group D after a draw against Algeria‘s MC Alger. The group is too tight to call with Esperance on 4 points followed by Zamalek and Alger on 2 each, and Teungueth on 1.