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African giants seal qualification for CAF Champions League group stage

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The qualification round for this season’s CAF Champions League neared its conclusion with few surprises as most of the continent’s football giants booked their place in the group stage after their respective second leg matches.

TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of the Congo scored four first-half goals to thump Malawi’s Big Bullets 4-0 and seal a 5-0 aggregate win. Its the first time in three years that TP Mazembe, who have won the competition five times, will be appearing in the group stage.

Last year’s runners-up Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco cruised past Guinea’s Hafia 3-0 for a 4-1 aggregate victory.

Four-time winners Esperance Tunis of Tunisia were held to a goalless draw by AS Douanes of Burkina Faso but progressed through having won the first leg 1-0.

Another Tunisian side Etoile Sportive du Sahel defeated FAR Rabat of Morocco 3-1 on aggregate after winning the second leg of the tie 2-1. The Tunisian side will hope to add another title to their solitary triumph in 2007.

South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns scored once in each half to beat Burundi’s Bumamuru 2-0 and seal an emphatic 6-0 aggregate win. Tanzania’s Yanga edged Al-Merreikh of Sudan 1-0 (3-0 aggregate) while Petro Atletico of Angola beat UD Songo of Mozambique 3-1 (5-2 aggregate).

Ghanaian side Medeama caused the upset of the day knocking out Guinean champions Horoya AC of Guinea. Medeama may have lost 2-1 but their 3-1 victory at home in the first leg was enough to ensure their passage to the group stage.

Earlier on Friday, defending champions Al Ahly and fellow Egyptian side Pyramids FC confirmed their qualification with huge wins at home against Saint George of Ethiopia and APR of Rwanda, respectively. Botswana side Jwaneng Galaxy stunned South African giants Orlando Pirates in a penalty shootout after the game had ended 1-1.

Sunday’s games will see Simba (Tanzania) play Power Dynamos (Zambia) with the match finely poised at 2-2 and ASEC Mimosas (Côte d’Ivoire) take on Al Ahly Benghazi (Libya) with the tie goalless after the first leg.

FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania will host Malian side AS Real de Bamako holding a commanding 3-0 lead from the first leg. Finally, Al-Hilal Omdurman (Sudan) will face Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) with the game also tied after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

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