It was a historic start to this season’s CAF Confederation Cup as home wins dominated the start to the 2021 tournament.

Of the 8 matches that were played on matchday 1, only 1 match ended up being a game where the home team failed to register a win. However, that game was played at a neutral venue because of the COVID-19 protocols set that restricted travel of the Orlando Pirates from South Africa to Setif, Algeria.

This meant that ES Setif had to host the South African champions in Accra, Ghana. The Pirates held the “home” team to a 0-0 draw in what was otherwise a happy hunting ground for the home teams in the first matchday of the CAF Confederation Cup.

Group A

The Group A match between Orlando Pirates and ES Setif may have ended in a very bland stalemate but the other game in the group saw Nigerian club Enyimba beating Libyan club Al Ahly-Benghazi 2-1.

Augustine Oladapo gave the Nigerian side the lead after just 10 minutes but they conceded a penalty in the 18th minute that was put in by Abdallah Imhamed. Victor Chukwuma Mbaoma turned hero for the home side, however, by netting the winner just before half time in the 43rd minute as Enyimba held on to a crucial victory that sees that 2 points clear of the Pirates and Setif after the 1st match week.

Group B

Group B saw defending champions RS Berkane comfortably beating the NAPSA Stars 2-0. Goals from Hamza Regragui in the 12th minute and Mouhcine Iajour in the 45th minute secured the victory for the Moroccan side against the visiting Zambians.

Algeria’s JS Kabylie beat Cameroonian side Coton Sport 1-0 thanks to a Bedreddine Souyad goal late on in the 88th minute for the hosts after Goni Ali was sent off in the 73rd minute for the visiting team.

Berkane sit on top of their group in their quest of retaining the CAF CC title, ahead of Kabylie on goal difference.

Group C

Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel got the job done at home by beating Senegalese club ASC Diaraf (Jaraaf). A brace by Hamza Lahmar secured the victory in what takes them to the top of the group.

Etoile du Sahel’s fellow Tunisian side CS Sfaxien feature in the same group and they followed suit by beating Burkina Faso club Salitas 1-0. Aymen Harzi scored from the penalty spot in the 77th minute to secure the win for the home side as both Tunisian teams look likely to go through from Group C although these are very early days.

Group D

The final group, Group D, saw Egypt’s Pyramids FC sail through to victory at home in Cairo. The Egyptian side scored 2 goals inside the first 10 minutes to breeze past Zambia’s Nkana FC by adding a final nail in the coffin right at the end of the game to win 3-0.

Mahmoud Wadi opened the scoring in the 2nd minute and Islam Issa made it 2 just 7 minutes later. Mohamed Farouk finished it off in the 1st minute of stoppage time to secure the side’s position at the top of Group D, on goal different after match week 1.

Tanzanian side Namungo were beaten by Morocco’s Raja Casablanca thanks to a Soufiane Rahimi penalty in the 54th minute. Things went from bad to worse for the visiting Namungo as Haruna Ramadhan Shamte was sent off in the 66th minute.

Rahimi was the top scorer in the CAF African Nations Championship as Morocco lifted the title earlier this year and he has carried this form into the continental tournament to help his side secure the 3 points in their quest to make it through to the last 8 of Africa’s second-tier competition.