African Soccer 18.7.2018 10:53 am

Caf Champions League wrap: Ahly cruise to victory, Esperance survive scare

Al Ahly players celebrates during the 2018 CAF  2018 CAF Champions League game between Al Ahly and   Township Rollers at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt on 17  July 2018 © BackpagePix *** Local Caption ***

Al Ahly players celebrates during the 2018 CAF 2018 CAF Champions League game between Al Ahly and Township Rollers at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt on 17 July 2018 © BackpagePix *** Local Caption ***

North African giants Al Ahly of Egypt and Esperance of Tunisia scored contrasting victories Tuesday to give Group A of the CAF Champions League a more familiar look.

Record eight-time champions Ahly began matchday 3 in last place, but were never troubled as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Township Rollers of Botswana in Alexandria.

Moroccan Walid Azaro netted in the first half, Tunisian Nabil Maaloul converted a penalty on 75 minutes and Egyptian Islam Mohareb completed the scoring with a header.

Twice champions Esperance had to come from two goals behind to edge Kampala Capital City Authority of Uganda 3-2 near Tunis.

The east Africans stunned their hosts by building a two-goal advantage midway through the opening half before Anice Badri and Saad Bguir netted to bring the sides level at half-time.

Bilel Mejri struck the winning goal nine minutes from time to leave Esperance with seven points, Ahly four and Rollers and KCCA three each halfway through the group phase.

Former title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa suffered a shock 1-0 away defeat to Port of Togo in Group C.

Abel Hundele scored the only goal on 40 minutes in Lome, netting from close range as the visitors appealed for offside.

It was another setback in west Africa for the 2016 African champions, who have never won a Champions League match there.

After two losses, Port were considered the group pushovers, but looked more motivated than opponents lacking want-away star Percy Tau.

Both sides squandered scoring chances and Port goalkeeper Jean-Rober Klomegan atoned for mishandling several crosses with a couple of brave blocks.

– Horoya failed to take advantage –

Horoya of Guinea failed to take advantage of Sundowns losing as they were held 1-1 in Conakry by defending champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Ismail el Haddad gave the Moroccans a 26th-minute lead that Mandela Ocansey cancelled soon after.

Wydad and Horoya have five points, Port three and Sundowns two with the top two finishers advancing to the quarter-finals.

Five-time African champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo maintained the only 100 percent group record with a dramatic 1-0 home win over Mouloudia Alger of Algeria.

Only two minutes of regular time remained in southern Congolese city Lubumbashi when Elia Meschak scored the lone goal in the top-of-the-table Group B clash.

Mazembe have nine points, Mouloudia four, fellow Algerians Entente Setif three and Difaa el Jadida of Morocco one.

Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, who caused one of the greatest Champions League finals shocks by beating Ahly in 2007, have taken charge of Group D.

They triumphed 3-0 away to Mbabane Swallows of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) in Manzini via goals from Karim Aouadhi, Maher Hannachi and substitute Amine Chermiti.

Aouadhi and Hannachi struck in the opening half and Chermiti put the outcome beyond doubt with a 71st-minute goal soon after coming off the bench.

Zesco United of Zambia, who were semi-finalists two seasons ago, and Primeiro Agosto of Angola drew 0-0 in Ndola.

Etoile have seven points, Swallows four and Zesco and Primeiro two each ahead of matchday 4 later this month.

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