CAF Champions League Round-up: Favorites Al Ahly, Wydad de Casablanca and TP Mazembe Englebert start the Campaign with Convincing wins.
Following a shaky start to the first round of the 2018 CAF Champions League, African heavyweights Al Ahly, Wydad de Casablanca, and TP Mazembe Englebert proved that they deserved the tag ‘favorites’ heading into the competition.
Defending Champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco were the biggest winners of the night with a 7-2 win over Ivory Coast’s Williamsville. Williamsville scored first and even managed to hold Wydad to a 2-2 draw up-to halftime but the North Africans had other plans. A second-half hat-trick from Ismail El Haddad sealed an emphatic 7-2 win for Wydad.
Former champions Etoile du Sahel also gave Nigeria’s debutants Plateau a baptism of fire at the Stade Olympique de Sousse. Three goals in the first eight minutes showed that the Nigerians were not well drilled before traveling North. They, however, kept fighting and managed to pull back two late goals giving them hope of turning the fixture around in the second leg.
Confederation Cup champions TP Mazembe Englebert also reminded everyone that they still have what it takes despite just returning from a two-year Champions League exile. The DR Congo powerhouse beat Mozambique’s UD Songo 4-0 at home and will have a relatively comfortable away fixture. Last year’s runners-up started with an easy 4-0 humbling of Gabon’s Mounana putting them in pole position to go through to the group stages.
In the upsets of the day, South African PL leaders Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a 0-0 draw by Rwanda’s Rayon Sport in Kigali. While the draw is no doubt disappointing to many of their fans, the point is valuable considering the context.
In East Africa, Kenya’s Goh Mahia held Tunisia’s favorites Esperance de Tunis to a goalless draw in Machakos whereas Uganda’s Kampala City Authority held their longtime rival, Saint George of Ethiopia to a 0-0 stalemate away from home.
Elsewhere, another South African giant Bidvest Wits lost to Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto and will have to be at their absolute best if they are to come back in the second leg.
The return legs are set for the weekend of March 16th and 18th to determine the teams that will continue through to the group stages. The other 16 teams that get knocked out of the first round enter the CAF Confederations Cup play-off round.
The Draw for the group stages will be held on March 21st, 2018.
Full First Round Results.
Young Africans 1- 2 Township Rollers.
Etoile du Sahel 4-2 Plateau United.
Horoya 2-1 Generation Foot
Al Ahly 4-0 Mounana.
Gor Mahia 0-0 Esperance Sportive de Tunis.
Kedus Giorgis 0-0 KCCA
Zesco United 0-1 ASEC Mimosas.
Zanaco FC 1-2 Mbabane Swallows.
TP Mazembe Englebert 4-0 UD Songo.
Aduna Stars 1-0 ES Setif.
Mfm 2-2 MC Alger.
Primeiro de Agosto 1-0 Bidvest Wits.
Togo Port 2-0 Al Hilal Omdurman.
Rayon Sport 0-0 Mamelodi Sundowns.
Wydad de Casablanca 7-2 Williamsville Athletic Club.
Difaa Hassani El Jadidi 1-0 AS Vita Club.