ROUND-UP: African Champions League
Former winners Al Ahly of Egypt and Esperance of Tunisia both suffered shock exits from the African Champions League, losing their last-16 ties.
Egypt’s Ahly, record eight times former champions, lost 4-3 on penalties to Morocco’s Moghreb Tetouan after the tie had ended 1-1 on aggregate.
Ahly, who lost the away leg 1-0, levelled the tie in Cairo thanks to a first half goal from Abdallah Said.
Tetouan went through to the group phase winning 4-3 in the decisive shoot-out.
Moghreb converted four consecutive kicks while Ahly failed twice with Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan blazing wide and Hossam Ghaly having his shot saved.
The match was played behind closed doors due to security concerns.
Ahly, who have since sacked Spaniard Juan Carlos Garrido, drop into the Confederation Cup – Africa’s second tier club tournament – a competition the Egyptians won for the first time last year.
Esperance of Tunisia also suffered a shock exit, losing on away goals to Sudan’s El Merrikh.
After their 1-0 defeat in the first leg in Sudan, Esperance could only produce a 2-1 victory at home to leave the tie level at 2-2 on aggregate, with El Merrikh going through to the lucrative group stage of the African Champions League.
Better news for Egyptian debutants Smouha who are through to the next stage of the African Champions League after a 2-1 aggregate win over Congolese club AC Leopards.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, goals from Ahmed Shoukry and Salah Amin gave Smouha a memorable victory.
TP Mazembe, the most successful Democratic Republic of Congo club in Africa with four African Champions League titles, went through after a 2-1 home leg victory over Stade Malien.
It follows their 2-2 draw in Mali which gave Mazembe a 4-3 aggregate win.
Holders Entente Setif squeezed into the group phase, after their goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia saved two Raja Casablanca spot-kicks in the decisive shoot-out.
The Algerians defeated the Moroccans 4-1 on penalties after the second leg in Setif finished 2-2, leaving the North African clubs tied at 4-4 on aggregate.
Goals early in each half from El Hedi Belameiri and captain Mourad Delhoum earned Setif a two-goal advantage.
Abdelilah Hafidi halved the deficit and Adil Karrouchy equalised off a rebound on 95 minutes after his penalty had been parried, taking the tie to penalties.
Recalled goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia, who was axed from a round-of-32 tie after refusing to travel to the Gambia, then became Setif’s hero.
While Setif clinically converted four spot-kicks in a row, the France-born goalkeeper saved the first two Raja attempts to earn his club a memorable triumph.
Setif were joined in the next round by two fellow Algerian sides, making the country the first ever to have three representatives in the group stage.
USM Alger booked their place after a 1-1 draw with Guineans AS Kaloum – the match played in neighbouring Mali because of the Ebola epidemic – that gave them a 3-2 aggregate win.
And Mouloudia El Eulma overcame experienced Tunisian outfit CS Sfaxien 7-6 on penalties after losing the second leg 1-0 to be held to a 1-1 aggregate draw.
Elsewhere, Sudanese side Al Hilal beat DR Congo’s Sanga Balende 1-0, just as they had in the first leg, to claim their place in the next round.
Credit: BBC Sport