Africa champions, Al-Ahly made a return to winning ways at the continental stage with a 3-0 victory over Angolan side Santos in their Confederation Cup first leg 2nd 1/8th round clash on Saturday.
The result brought back smiles on the faces of the teeming fans of the Cairo-based club after the record six-time African champions were stunned by Nigerian side Kano Pillars on away goals after 3-3 tie in the CAF Champions League 1/8th tie a fortnight ago.
Playmaker Mohamed Aboutreika’s 25th minute opener and a second half brace from Osama Hosni were all the “Red Devils” needed to lighten up their chances of a place at the next stage.
Whilst Ahly were swimming in smiles, it was the opposite for holders CS Sfaxien who were beaten 0-2 by Angolan champions Primeiro de Agosto in Luanda.
It was the second time the Tunisian side had lost an away tie this term after 1-2 loss to Ahly Benghazi of Libya last month (April) in a second leg 1/16th round clash.
Palancas Negras star, Arsenio Love Cabungula broke the deadlock on 14 minutes before Pina’s strike three minutes from sealed victory.
By the result, the Sfax-based side must score at least three unanswered goals in the return leg in a fortnight or miss out on their third successive Confederation Cup title.
In Garoua, Cotonsport kept alive Cameroon’s hope of a representation in the continental club championships with a 3-1 win over DR Congo outfit ASV Club.
Malian side Stade Malien restored some pride for the West African country after holding Ititihad Zemouri Khemisset of Morocco to a one all draw in Khemiset.
Earlier on Friday, Ugandan champions, Kampala City Council (KCC) and Algerian side Entente Sétif took giant steps towards qualification to the mini-league stage with convincing home wins.
The two clubs registered 3-1 wins over their respective opponents during first leg 2nd 1/8th round clashes.
KCC beat Nigerian league leaders Bayelsa United whilst Sétif also came from behind to triumph over Stade Malien of Mali by a similar margin.
The Ugandans victory at their favoured Nakivubo Stadium in Kampala also served a tone of relief for trainer George Nsimbe, who has been the subject of critics following their elimination from the much prestigious CAF Champions League.
Striker Brian Umony gave the Ugandan champions a first half lead after just four minutes before Moses Muhindo scored the second 10 minutes from recess.
The 22-year old Umony; widely considered as one of the biggest talents Ugandan soccer has ever produced sealed victory for his side with the third goal on 63 minutes before Aruwa Ameh grabbed a consolation for the visitors four minutes later.
At the Northeastern Algerain town of Sétif, Ousmane Cisse gave Stade Malien the lead on 26 minutes before defender Delhoum Mourad leveled for the 1988 Africa champions 60 seconds later.
Four minutes on, striker Ziaya Abdelmalik put the home side in the lead for the first time before Cameroonian-import Francis Ambane sealed victory with a splendid strike four minutes past the hour mark.
Elsewhere at the June 11 Stadium in Tripoli, Egyptian side Haras El Hodoud held Ahly Tripoli to a barren draw.
Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas will host Ennpi of Egypt in the final fixture on Sunday.
The second leg matches have been scheduled for the weekend of May 29-31 with the winners confirming their place at the last eight of the competition.
Kampala CC (Uganda) 3-1 Bayelsa United (Nigeria)
ES Sétif (Algeria) 3-1 Djoliba AC (Mali)
Ahly Tripoli (Libya) 0-0 Haras El Hodoud (Egypt)
Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) 2-0 CS Sfaxien (Tunisia)
Al Ahly (Egypt) 3-0 Santos (Angola)
Coton Sport (Cameroon) 3-1 AS V Club (RD Congo)
IZ Khemisset (Morocco) 1-1 Stade Malien (Mali)