Holders Ahly salvage crucial away draw
Holders Al-Ahly of Egypt remained on course for a next round berth after a one all draw with Nigerian champions, Kano Pillars on Saturday in their CAF Champions League 1/8th round first leg clash.
Hani Al-Egeizi header from Gilberto’s perfect cross 20 minutes from time gave an Ahly side without key players such as Mohamed Barakat, Ahmed Hassan and captain Shady Mohamed a vital draw that keeps them in strong contention for a last eight place.
Ahly, regulars at the mini-league stage of the continent’s premier club competition must win the second leg against the Nigerian champions to keep alive their hopes of a seventh title.
Not even the presence of Slovenian trainer, Iva Sahj, who joined few days before the clash could aid the Kano-based side’s ambition of toppling the continental champions at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kaduna.
Victor Namo put the hosts in front after 30 minutes when he rose unmarked to head home Al-Haj Mohamed's cross before Al-Egeizi leveled in the second half.
Elsewhere in Tripoli, 2007 winners Etoile du Sahel of Nigeria held Libyan side Ahly to a barren draw. It was Etoile’s second clean sheet away from home of their campaign this term.
Earlier on Friday, Sudan’s Al Merrikh beat Ugandan champions Kampala City Council at the latter’s backyard thanks Nigerian-born striker Endurance Idahor’s 54th minute strike.
The remaining fixtures will be cleared on Sunday.
The second leg matches have been fixed for May 1-3 with the winners advancing to the mini-league stage.
C. D. 1e de Agosto (Angola) v Al Hilal (Sudan)
Kano Pillars FC (Nigeria) 1-1 Al Ahly (Egypt)
Djoliba AC (Mali) v Zesco United (Zambia)
Kampala CC (Uganda) 0-1 Merrikh (Sudan)
Heartland (Nigeria) v Coton Sport (Cameroon)
TP Mazembe (RD Congo) v Ittihad Z. Khemisset (Morocco)
Asec Mimosas (Cote D’Ivoire) v Monomotapa FC (Zimbabwe)
Ahly Tripoli (Libya) 0-0 E.S.S. (Tunisia)
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
REGULATIONS / PUBLICATIONSCAF Statutes