This season’s CAF Champions League group stage got underway as Africa’s finest clubs began their campaigns to try and wrest the title away from record nine-time winners Al Ahly of Egypt. The weekend’s action brought up some shock results and elsewhere, otherwise, narrow victories.
The biggest shock, so far, of the opening games saw Tanzanian giants Simba SC stun DR Congo side AS Vita Club 1-0.
Congolese forward Chris Mugalu scored the only goal of the game converting a penalty in the 61st minute to send the away side top of Group A. Simba leads the way with three points while AS Vita is bottom with zero points.
Defending champions Al Ahly, fresh from securing third place at the FIFA Club World Cup, will get the defence of their title against Al-Merrikh of Sudan at the Cairo International Stadium in the same group.
Last season’s finalists Zamalek were held to a goalless draw at home by Algerian side MC Alger in Group D and are joint-second behind Esperance of Tunisia, who came from behind to defeat Teungueth of Senegal 2-1. Goals from Taha Khenissi and Khalid Basit saw the two-time champions erase Gibril Sillah’s strike just after the half hour mark.
2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns are the early leaders in Group B after a goal apiece from Mosa Lebusa and Kermit Erasmus earned them a 2-0 win against Sudan’s Al Hilal Omdurman, who are bottom. The other group game saw five-time winners TP Mazembe of DR Congo and CR Belouizdad of Algeria settle for a barren draw.
A penalty from Dramani Nikiema and another goal by Yakhouba Barry saw Guinea’s AC Horoya defeat Angola’s Petro Atletico 2-0 to go top of Group C. The other group game between Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco) and Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa) was postponed after the South African side confirmed receipt of communication from CAF that the match will not take place.
Chiefs did not state why the game was postponed but added CAF will communicate its decision on the matter in due course.
“Amakhosi will await CAF’s decision on the matter and will update all our stakeholders once communication is received from the continental footballing body,” the club said in a statement.