Sun­downs, Esper­ance, Etoile reach last eight

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ti­tle-hold­ers Mamelodi Sun­downs of South Africa and Esper­ance and Etoile Sa­hel of Tu­nisia be­came the first qual­i­fiers for the CAF Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter-fi­nals Satur­day.

Gan­gling Liberian Anthony Laf­for scored five min­utes from time to earn Sun­downs a 1-0 Group C vic­tory over Saint Ge­orge of Ethiopia in a packed 30,000-ca­pac­ity Addis Ababa stadium.

Saint Ge­orge, the first Ethiopian side to reach the group stage of the pre­mier African club competition, wasted a great chance to take the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Sun­downs de­fender Anele Ng­con­gca han­dled the ball in­side the box, but a timidly struck penalty from lead­ing 2017 Cham­pi­ons League scorer Sal­adin Said was par­ried to safety by De­nis Onyango.

Esper­ance led and trailed against V Club of the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo in Kin­shasa dur­ing a 2-2 draw in which home player Mak­wekwe Kupa was red-carded just be­fore the hour.

Tu­nisian Taha Yas­sine Khenissi con­tin­ued hot form for club and coun­try by scor­ing on 10 min­utes in the Stade des Mar­tyrs, one of the most in­tim­i­dat­ing African foot­ball caul­drons.

Tady Etekiama, who once served a twoyear ban for fal­si­fy­ing his age and us­ing a fake pass­port, bagged a brace within eight min­utes and V Club led 2-1 at half-time.

Need­ing max­i­mum points to keep alive hopes of squeez­ing into the quar­ter-fi­nals af­ter the fi­nal round next week­end, V Club were hit by a dou­ble blow.

Kupa was sent off and Esper­ance lev­elled al­most im­me­di­ately when Khenissi con­verted a penalty.

Esper­ance have nine points, Sun­downs eight, Saint Ge­orge five and V Club four with the South Africans as­sured of a toptwo fin­ish on head-to-head records.

Etoile Sa­hel drew a third con­sec­u­tive Group A game, but the 1-1 stale­mate with Fer­roviario Beira in Mozam­bique was suf­fi­cient to en­sure a quar­ter-fi­nals berth.

Che­lito Omar gave Fer­roviario a 72nd­minute lead and Slim Ben Bel­gacem equalised by con­vert­ing a penalty six min­utes from time.

In the other match in the group, a Mo­hamed Ab­del Rah­man brace gave Al Mer­rikh a 2-1 vic­tory over Al Hi­lal in a clash of Su­danese giants.

For­mer cham­pi­ons Etoile have nine points, Mer­rikh seven, Fer­roviario five and twice run­ners-up Hi­lal four.

There is a grip­ping three-club Group D strug­gle for two last-eight places af­ter Zanaco of Zam­bia and Al Ahly of Egypt drew 0-0 and Wy­dad Casablanca of Morocco won 2-0 at Co­ton Sport of Cameroon.

Goals from Achraf Ben­charki in the first half and Naim Aarab in the sec­ond gave Wy­dad vic­tory and Co­ton fin­ished with 10 men af­ter Ab­doulaye Alin­gar was red-carded. Zanaco have 11 points, Wy­dad nine and record eight-time cham­pi­ons Ahly eight while Co­ton are point­less af­ter five straight de­feats. A 1-1 draw be­tween Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya and USM Al­ger of Al­ge­ria means both clubs and Za­malek of Egypt and CAPS United of Zim­babwe, who meet in Harare to­day, can ad­vance from Group B.

USM and Ahly Tripoli have eight points from five matches and five-time African cham­pi­ons Za­malek five and CAPS three from four. —AFP

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