North African clubs were the biggest winners as the 2019-20 Total CAF Confederation Cup group stage kicked off last weekend, with all four victories recorded in Match Day 1 belonging to Northern sides.
Egypt duet Al Masry and Pyramids, and Moroccan pair RS Berkane and Hassania Agadir were the sides that recorded victories in the opening round of matches. Four other matches ended in draws, with the second round of group games scheduled next Sunday (8 December 2019).
It was a joy for Egypt’s representatives Pyramids and Al Masry, as they both achieved away victories, to get an early favorites’ tag.
Pyramids came from behind in the second half to defeat Nigeria’s Rangers 3-1 in Enugu. The hosts took the lead via Ibrahim Olawoyin after 28 minutes, before being reduced to ten men when skipper Emmanuel Olusesi was shown the red card just before halftime. Debutants Pyramids made use of their numerical advantage to score twice from the spot via Mohamed Farouk (54) and Islam Issa (87), with Amor Layouni scoring in between (84).
In Nouakchott, Al Masry scored in injury time to grab maximum points against Mauritanian hosts Nouadhibou. Austin Amutu broke the deadlock for Al Masry after 20 minutes, before Boubacar Bagili (46) and Yassin El Welly (55) put the hosts ahead. Amutu restored parity (63) before Karim El Iraki, who scored in the recently concluded U-23 AFCON final, snatched victory for Al Masry in the added time.
As it stands
1. Pyramids – 3 points
2. Al Masry – 3 points
3. Nouadhibou – 0 points
4. Rangers – 0 points
08.12.2019 Alexandria Al Masry v Rangers
08.12.2019 Cairo Pyramids v Nouadhibou
Last season’s runner ups RS Berkane of Morocco prevailed over Benin’s debutants ESAE 3-0 in Berkane. Zaid Krouch (26) and Hamdi Laachir (32) scored before the break, while substitute Djibril Ouattara put the cherry on top of the cake four minutes from time.
In Kinshasa, hosts DC Motema Pembe of DR Congo came from behind to hold Zambia’s Zanaco to 1-1 draw. Moussa Souleymanou gave the visitors the lead after 25 minutes, but Peter Kolawole equalized for the hosts ten minutes from time. Zanaco finished the game with ten men after Kelvin Kapumbu was given his marching orders after 66 minutes.
As it stands
1. RS Berkane – 3 points
2. Zanaco – 1 point
2. DC Motema Pembe – 1 point
4. ESAE – 0 points
08.12.2019 Cotonou ESAE v DC Motema Pembe
08.12.2019 Lusaka Zanaco v RS Berkane
It’s all square after Day 1 as both games ended in a stalemate. In Cairo, Libya’s Al Nasr came from behind to hold Malian visitors Djoliba to 1-1 draw. El Hadji Salim Bah gave Djoliba the lead (52) only for Khalid Almaryami to equalize from the spot (68) to share the spoils.
South Africa’s Bidvest Wits had to settle for a home barren draw against visitors Horoya of Guinea in Johannesburg. All four teams will go to the next match day with a lone point each.
As it stands
1. Djoliba – 1 point
1. Al Nasr – 1 point
3. Horoya – 1 point
3. Bidvest Wits – 1 point
08.12.2019 Bamako Djoliba v Bidvest Wits
08.12.2019 Conakry Horoya v Al Nasr
Morocco’s Hassania Agadir kicked off their campaign with a home 2-0 win over two times African Champions Enyimba of Nigeria. Agadir, last season quarter finalists scored twice before the break via Karim El Berkaoui (14) and Malick Cisse (19) to grab maximum points.
In San Pedro, the Ivoirian hosts missed a second half penalty to settle for a goalless draw with Algerian debutants Paradou. Toufik Moussaoui stopped Gabriel Alessa’s penalty after 50 minutes as his side returned home with a valuable away point.
As it stands
1. Hassania Agadir – 3 points
2. Paradou – 1 point
2. San Pedro – 1 point
4. Enyimba – 0 points
08.12.2019 Aba Enyimba v San Pedro
08.12.2019 Blida Paradou v Hassania Agadir