08 April 2018 02:36
Raja Club Athletic on Saturday afternoon beat host Zanaco 2-0 away at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka to move one step closer to the group stage.
The Moroccans now need a home draw on April 17 to qualify to the group stage for the first time since 2011.
Second half goals from Benhalib Mahmoud and Hadraf Zakaria put the three-time African champions firmly in the driving seat for qualification to the mini-league phase that kicks off next month.
Despite an even contest, it was Raja who had the lion’s share of chances in the first half that kept Zanaco's goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata busy.
Nsabata made two superb saves in the first half starting in the 18th minute when he saved Iajour Mouhssine’s shot.
The Zanaco goalkeeper was again the hero two minutes later when he collected a vicious shot from Hafidi Abdelilah.
Zanaco's best effort of the half came in the 31st minute but Martin Phiri's tame shot was saved by Zniti Anas.
Then, Mouhssine again was denied six minutes before halftime when Nsabata parried his volley.
Raja continued to pile the pressure on Zanaco in the second half but Mahmoud's 61st minute scissors kick from Abdullah’s cross went inches wide.
Zanaco's came close to scoring in the 64th minute from striker Maisha Chavda but Anas out palmed his shot.
Four minutes later, the deadlock was broken when Mahmoud fired in a fine shot after slipping past defenders Ziyo Tembo and George Chilufya.
Zakaria then pumped in a fine close-range shot in the 75th minute after coming on the pitch in the 68th minute for Abdelilah to give Zanaco a mountain to climb in Casablanca in a fortnights time.
Juan Carlos Garrido (Head Coach, Raja Club Athletic)
It will be a different game and we will have to play very well at home. Of course, Zanaco will be hoping to play better away and so we are starting from zero again. We have to play a good game because the definitive match will be in Casablanca and we must to keep the concentration so we have to play another good tactical match.
We will respect our opponents and must not forget that their still another 90 minutes to play."
Friday, 6 April 2018
Bidvest (South Africa) 1-1 Enyimba (Nigeria)
CF Mounana (Gabon) 1-1 El Masry (Egypt)
Rayon Sports (Rwanda) 3-0 Costa do Sol (Mozambique)
Saturday, 7 April 2018
Zanaco (Zambia) 0-2 Raja Club Athletic (Morocco)
AS Vita (DR Congo) 1-0 CS la Mancha (Congo)
Saint George (Ethiopia) 1-0 CARA (Congo)
UD Songo (Mozambique) 3-1 Hilal Obeid (Sudan)
Plateau United (Nigeria) 2-1 USM Alger (Algeria)
Young Africans (Tanzania) 2-0 Wolaitta Dicha (Ethiopia)
Generation Foot (Senegal) 3-1 RS Berkane (Morocco)
Williamsville (Cote d’Ivoire) 2-0 Niefang (Equatorial Guinea)
Sunday, 8 April 2018
El Hilal (Sudan) vs Akwa United (Nigeria)
Gor Mahia (Kenya) vs Supersport (South Africa)
Aduana (Ghana) vs Fosa Juniors (Madagascar)
ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire) vs CR Belouizdad (Algeria)
MFM (Nigeria) vs Djoliba (Mali)