Holders T.P. Mazembe and former winners Ismaili of Egypt grabbed crucial victories away from home during the first leg matches of the 1/8th round of the Orange CAF Champions League held over the weekend.
Mazembe piped Malian champions Djoliba AC by a lone goal in Bamako whilst Ismaili recorded a similar win over Sudanese giants Al-Hilal in Omdurman, as the two clubs kept alive their ambitions reaching the mini-league stage.
Playmaker Tresor Mputu Mabi scored the winner of Les Corbeaux from the spot on 51 minutes whilst Mohamed Hommos’ 45th minute effort proved crucial for the Egyptian Samba Boys.
The biggest winner of the weekend qualifiers was Zimbabwean giants Dynamos, who recorded a 4-1 win over Botswana champions, Gaborone United.
Dynamos, which have participated at the mini-league stage of the premier continental club championships on their last three attempts came from behind to hand the Gaborone-based club their first defeat of the campaign.
Striker Steven Maposa stunned the home crowd with the opening goal on the quarter-hour mark.
But the lead will last for only 10 minutes before Dylan Chivanbire drew parity. Midfielder Benjamin Marere shot Dynamos into the lead for the first time in the game five minutes past the half-hour mark.
The host resumed strongly and sealed victory with strikes from Farai Vimisai and Evans Gwekwerere in the closing stages ahead of the second leg billed for Gaborone in a fortnight.
Six-time winners Al-Ahly of Egypt suffered their second loss this term lost 0-2 in Tripoli to Al-Ittihad on Friday.
A goal in each from defender Younes Shibani and Ahmed Zuway gave the Tripoli-based club the needed first leg advantage.
In Rades, Tunisian champions Esperance Sportive de Tunis posited a 3-0 win over Sudanese giants Al-Merrikh.
First half goals from Nigerian-import Michael Eneramo, Aymen Ben Amor and midfieldfer Oussama Darragi was all the Tunis-based side needed to cruise over their Sudanese guests. The result served a double agony for Sudanese football as bitterest rivals Al-Hilal lost 0-1 at home to Ismaili of Egypt.
The victory serves a booster to the ambitions of the 1994 African champions of reaching the mini-league stage of the premier continental club championship.
Algerian champions Entente Setif managed a lone goal victory over Zambian visitors Zanaco on Saturday thanks to Mourad Delhoum’s 74th minute goal.
Entente Setif failed to double their lead four minutes to full time as Setifian Hemani wasted a penalty.
In Johannesburg, South African torchbearers SuperSport United were held to a 1-1 by last year’s losing finalists Heartland FC of Nigeria.
Defender ThankGod Ike fired the visiting Nigerian club into the lead after three minutes before Thabo September drew parity for the Matsatsantsa six minutes from time.
At Tizi Ouzou, former African champions J.S. Kabylie of Algeria beat Angolan champions Petro Atletico 2-0. Tedjar Saad opened scores on 50 minutes before Aoudia Mohamed Amin sealed victory with the second goal a minute from time.
The Angolans however ended the game with a man-less after Santana was sent off with four minutes remaining.
The second leg matches will be played in a fortnight with the winners advancing to the mini-league stage and the losers engaging the 1/8th round losers of the Orange CAF Confederation Cup in a playoff.
Al-Ittihad (Libya) 2-0 Al-Ahly (Egypt)
Entente Setif (Algeria) 1-0 Zanaco (Zambia)
SuperSport United (South Africa) 1-1 Heartland FC (Nigeria)
Dynamos (Zimbabwe) 4-1 Gaborone United (Botswana)
Djoliba AC (Mali) 0-1 T.P. Mazembe (DR Congo)
Al-Hilal (Sudan) 0-1 Ismaili
J.S. Kabylie (Algeria) 2-0 Petro Atletico (Angola)
Esperance (Tunisia) 3-0 Al-Merrikh (Sudan)