CAIRO — The CAF Confederation Cup continues to live up to its high expectations as more clubs secured their place in the group stages of the competition.
Egyptian giants, Zamalek who was on the verge of being eliminated by Djibouti’s Arta Solar showed their championship mettle with a hard-fought 4-1 victory to secure a narrow 4-3 aggregate scoreline to advance to the group stages of the competition.
The 2019 champions suffered a shock 2-0 away defeat in the first leg and were set for a disappointing exit after Arta Solar took the lead ahead of the break in Cairo.
In true championship pedigree, the former champions fought on to find the back of the net an impressive four times to send their fans into a rapture as they advanced further in what was dramatic encounter.
Sierra Leone side, Kallon FC were unlucky to miss out on a place in the group stages after a 1-1 stalemate against Dreams FC of Ghana meant they bowed out of the competition with a 3-2 aggregate defeat.
Cote d’Ivoire’s Afad Djekanou suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Guinea’s CO Coyah which saw them exit the competition for the Guinian side to advance with a 3-2 aggregate.
In Rwanda, Rayon Sports also crashed out of the competition in front of their home fans after playing out to a 1-1 draw against Libya’s Al Hilal Benghazi.
The stalemate meant the two sides had to decide the winner through the lottery of penalties following a similar scoreline in the first leg.
Elsewhere, Former Confederation Cup champions, RS Berkane of Morocco is through to the group stages of the competition after a solitary strike by Youssef Zghoudi against Nigeria’s Bendel Insurance ensured the 2021 champions advance further in their quest to reclaim their title.
The Moroccans welcomed the Nigerians at the back of a 2-2 away draw in Benin City and did just enough with the one goal to advance further with a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.
Meanwhile in South Africa, SuperSport United emphatically marched into the group stages after easily brushing aside Botswana’s Gaborone United 3-0 in a match played in Polokwane for the club from the nation’s capital to advance 4-1 on aggregate.
A brace by Nigerian international, Etiosa Ighodaro along with a late strike by Bradley Grobler were more than enough to see Gavin Hunt’s side through to the group stage.
In Hunt, United has a tactically astute manager who did well to guide Kaizer Chiefs to the CAF Champions League two seasons ago.
In Burundi, Aigle Noir fell short of securing a place in the group stages despite an impressive 3-1 victory over Mali’s Stade Malien.
The Malians came into the clash with a 2-0 first-leg cushion which worked in their favour as the single goal saw them through with a 3-3 aggregate score.