Esperance, Mazembe reach quarter finals of CAF Champions League

After Etoile Sahel of Tunisia became the first side to book a quarter-final place in the CAF Champions League, compatriots Esperance joined them on Saturday after winning away in Uganda on Saturday to ensure progression from Group A.

Congolese giants Tout Puissant Mazembe are also through as the third side to secure a spot in the last eight, with defending champions Wydad Casablanca waiting in the wings.

Mazembe’s 1-1 draw at Mouloudia Alger on Saturday ensures they will finish in the top two in Group B.

Wydad won 2-0 at home against Horoya of Guinea in Group C but must still wait until the next round of matches next month to ensure their progress, even though they have opened up a three-point lead and are well-placed to advance in defence of their title.

Last year’s winners were 2-0 up inside the opening 20 minutes with early goals from centre-back Cheik Comara and Mohamed Ounajem.

Haythem Jouini scored four minutes before half-time at the Mandela National Stadium to see Esperance to a 1-0 away triumph over Kampala Capital City Authority and up to 10 points in their group after four matches, making sure that the Tunisian giants will go through to the last eight.

Esperance kept up a remarkable record of consistency in the Champions League where they are now in the last eight for the 11th time in the last 20 editions.

Al Ahly, who have won more Champions League titles than any other, were victors later on Saturday away in Botswana against Township Rollers to close in on the other qualification sport in Group A, but are mathematically still not assured of progress.

Malian import Salif Coulibaly, recently signed from Iran, scored a first goal for his new club as they won 1-0 in Gaborone, securing their triumph nine minutes from full time.

The defender towered above his marker to send a bullet header home following an in-swinging corner from left back Ali Maaloul as new coach Patrice Carteron registered a second success since arriving at the Cairo giants.

Ahly, last year’s runners-up, are now on seven points from four games in the group, four ahead of rookies Rollers and KCCA.

TP Mazembe are on 10 points in Group B, ahead of Mouloudia Alger with five and 2014 winners Etoile Sahel on four after grabbing a key draw at the Stade du 5 Julliet in the Algerian capital.

Meshack Elia had the Congolese visitors ahead just after half-time, and they held their lead until 20 minutes from time when Walid Derrardja equalised for the hosts.

Etoile Sahel made sure of their progress when they beat Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland 2-0 at home on Friday in Group D.

The next round of Champions League group games will be played on Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 18, when the balance of places in the knockout stage are expected to be settled.



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