Champions League on a roll

The Bethlehem Boys of Namibia will have to try another year to make it into the lucrative group phase of the Champions League after Civics’ flame was finally extinguished by seasoned campaigners Asec Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire. The Democratic Republic of Congo lost one of their representatives but FC Lupopo ensured that Congolese interest remained in the Champions League by booking their place in the third round. It was a familiar tale of failure for Zambia once again after Zanaco failed the desert test following a crashing 0-3 defeat at the hands of former champions JS Kabylie in Algeria. The Lusaka giants had won the first leg 1-0. Their neighbours across the Zambezi will have no interest in the Champions League too after Confederation of African Football closed the little window that CAPS United had been hoping to exploit and overturn their disqualification from the tournament. Burundi club Inter Stars, who had lost to CAPS United in a preliminary before the Harare giants were disqualified for using ineligible players during that match, played Raja Casablanca of Morocco and suffered a humiliating 0-7 defeat. Mozambican champions Ferroviario of Maputo also crashed out of the Champions League but they have no reason to bury their heads in the sand following their gallant show against Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko. The Mozambicans lost the return leg 0-1 in Kumasi and bowed out after the first leg in Maputo had ended goalless. But while the elimination of Zanaco and Ferroviario might not have come as a surprise, Pretoria giants Mamelodi Sundowns will undergo a lot of soul-searching after their were bundled out of the tournament. One of the most expensively assembled side I African football crashed out on the away goals rule at the hands of little Madagascar side USCAFOOT. And to rub salt into the Sundowns’ wounds, their great rivals Orlando Pirates booked their place in the next round after a routine demolition of another side from an Indian Ocean island. Pirates, who won the trophy in 1995, destroyed ASPL 2000 of Mauritius 9-0 on aggregate. The Johannesburg giants are just one of three Southern African teams remaining in the competition. Pirates will play Sundanese side Al Hilal in the next round, Lupopo will take on Nigerian giants Enyimba and USCAFOOT will date Asante Kotoko. And they are living a dream in Madagascar to such an extent that they now believe they will win the tournament. Until now no Madagascar club had eased into the third round of the Champions League. And until the events in Pretoria last week, noone believed USCAFOOT could do it. They had thrown away the advantage when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Sundowns but they shocked just about everyone when they held the South African giants to a 2-2 draw at the Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria. That left the tie 3-3 on aggregate but the islanders eased into the next round on the away goals rule. USCAFOOT shot into the lead as early as the seventh minute when Rivo cut through the home side’s defence and fired home. Surprise Moriri equalised for Sundowns in the 36th minute when he headed home from a corner but the visitors gained the advantage when Ima Faneva outpaced Vuyo Mere and goalkeeper Andre Arendse to score the second. Big striker Sandile Ndlovu equalised for Sundowns with just a minute left on the clock but it was another classic case of too little, too late. USCAFOOT held on for a famous draw to book their place into the third round. While Sundowns collapsed at home, their rivals Pirates had a stroll in the park as they hammered their Mauritian opponents 4-0 for a 9-0 aggregate win. The Buccaneers led 2-0 at half time ‘ Tyrene Arendse converting a penalty in the 18th minute and then burying a second in the 42nd minute. Further goals from Sailor Tshabalala (77th minute) and Davies Mwape (87th minute) completed the rout. It has been a good week for the Pirates. Last week their star Benedict “Tso” Vilakazi was acquitted by the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court on a rape charge. “Orlando Pirates Football Club welcome the acquittal of it’s star Benedict Vilakazi on a count of rape and alternatively statutory rape at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court,” said the club in a statement released on its website. “We have always believed in Tso’s innocence but also respected the process of law to take its course, hence our decision to temporary withdraw the captaincy from him. “It has been a trying time both for him and the club. We therefore would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters who have prayed for him and believe that this time they will be able to concentrate on his football career and make a success of it that he is.” The DRC will have just one representative after Daring Motemba Pembe crashed to a shock home defeat at the hands of Tunisian club CS Sfaxien. DC Motemba Pembe had held the Tunisians to a 1-1 draw three weeks ago and were odd-on favourites to book their place into the next round at home before a big crowd in Kinshasa. But a priceless goal from Issam Merdassi silenced the Congolese. DC Motemba rivals Lupopo lived to fight another day and will now play Enyimba for a place in the group phase of the Champions League. Ferroviario had been held to a goalless draw at home and they fought gallantly in the away match against Kotoko in Ghana only for Shila Illiasu to score the goal that knocked them out despite their brave show. It also came at a huge cost for the Mozambicans whose goalkeeper Rodrigo had to be taken to hospital after a clash with an opponent. Collated second round results In Algiers: JS Kabylie (Algeria) 3 ZANACO 0 First leg: 0-1; JS Kabylie won 3-1 on aggregate. In Cairo: Al Ahly (Egypt) 3 Tusker FC (Kenya) 0 First leg: 2-0; Al Ahly won 5-0 on aggregate In Omdurman: Al Hilal (Sudan) 4 Enugu Rangers (Nigeria) 0 First leg: 0-1; Al Hilal won 4-1 on aggregate In Obuasi: Hearts of Oak (Ghana) 2 St George (Ethiopia) 0 (match abandoned after St George walked off) First leg: 0-4 In Potchefstroom: Orlando Pirates (South Africa) 4 AS Port Louis 2000 (Mauritius) 0 First leg: 5-0; Orlando Pirates won 9-0 on aggregate In Rabat: Royal Armed Forces (Morocco) 1 APR FC (Rwanda) 0, First leg: 1-2; Royal Armed Forces won on the away goals rule after a 2-2 aggregate draw In Sousse: Etoile Sahel (Tunisia) 3 AS Polisi (Zanzibar) 0 First leg: 2-0; Etoile Sahel won 5-0 on aggregate In Aba: Enyimba (Nigeria) 2 Diaraf Dakar (Senegal) 0 First leg: 0-0; Enyimba won 2-0 on aggregate In Algiers: USM Alger (Algeria) 3 Port Autonome (Senegal) 2 Firest leg: 1-2; Port Autonome won on the away goals rule after a 4-4 aggregate draw In Garoua: Coton Sport (Cameroon) 0 FC St Eloi Lupopo (Democratic Republic of Congo) 0 First leg: 0-1; FC St Eloi Lupopo won 1-0 on aggregate In Kinshasa: Daring Club Motema Pembe (Democratic Republic of Congo) 0 CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) 1 First leg: 1-1; CS Sfaxien won 2-1 on aggregate In Malabo: Renacimiento (Equatorial Guinea) 1 Stade Malien (Mali) 0 First leg: 2-2; Renacimiento won 3-2 on aggregate In Obuasi: Asante Kotoko (Ghana) 2 Ferroviario Maputo (Mozambique) 1 First leg: 0-0; Asante Kotoko won 2-1 on aggregate In Pretoria: Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) 2 USCAFOOT (Madagascar) 2 First leg: 1-1; USCAFOOT won on the away goals rule after a 3-3 aggregate draw In Windhoek: Civics (Namibia) 0 ASEC Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) 1 First leg: 0-3; ASEC Abidjan won 4-0 on aggregate Third round draw Renacimiento (Equatorial Guinea) v Al Ahly (Egypt) Port Autonome (Senegal) v ASEC Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) Orlando Pirates (South Africa) v Al Hilal (Sudan) Enyimba (Nigeria) v FC St Eloi Lupopo (Democratic Republic of Congo) CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) v Royal Armed Forces (Morocco) Asante Kotoko (Ghana) v USCAFOOT (Madagascar) Hearts of Oak (Ghana) v Etoile Sahel (Tunisia) JS Kabylie (Algeria) v Raja Casablanca (Morocco) or Inter Stars (Burundi).

April 2006
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