Tanzanian giants Simba SC were the biggest casualty of the second preliminary round of the CAF Champions League after the threw away a 2-0 lead from the first leg to lose 3-1 at home against Botswana debutants Jwaneng Galaxy and crush out of the competition.
Simba were eliminated on the away goal rule after a 3-3 aggregate result and will now have to contend in the CAF Confederation Cup play-off round.
Simba had fate in their own hands with the well worked first leg performance and just needed to avoid a heavy defeat in Dar es Salaam to proceed to the next round.
But, they paid for their complacency with Gape Mohutsiwa scoring the decisive goal for Jwaneng with four minutes of regulation time left to dump Wekundu wa Msimbazi out of Africa’s biggest club competition.
Simba were well on course to cementing their performance from the first leg in Gaborone when they got into the lead after 41 minutes. Rally Bwalya took them into the lead with a rasping left foot shot after driving into the box.
This took the aggregate score to 3-0 and Simba were surely in control of the tie.
But, they collapsed in the second half. Just 42 seconds after the restart, Jwaneng levelled the scores on the day when Rudath Wendell scored with a neat shot inside the box after the Simba backline failed to deal with a cross.
On the hour mark, the visitors were in dreamland when Wendell completed his brace, slapping the ball home unmarked inside the six yard box from a long throw. Simba were guilty of poor marking inside the area and were made to pay.
The second goal improved Jwaneng’s confidence in the match and they kept the fight and the belief, leading 2-1 on the evening and trailing 3-2 on aggregate. They knew just a goal was enough to take them to dreamland.
They notched that goal with four minutes to the end of the game, once again Simba defending in a shambolic manner inside their box, allowing Mohutsiwa to head home unmarked at the back post from a cross on the left.
Elsewhere, The Algerian duo of ES Setif and CR Belouizdad picked up identical 2-0 wins to overturn 3-1 deficits from the first leg as both progressed to the group stages of the CAF Champions League.
In Setif, the hosts were beaten 3-1 in Nouakchott by Mauritanian champions FC Nouadhibou and had the huge task of winning at home and earning a place in the group stages.
Abderrahim Deghmoum gave Setif a 1-0 lead at halftime with a thunderous left footed shot after a poorly defended corner. They had to wait till six minutes from time before securing qualification through Khalil Darfalou’s goal.
It was same script different cast as fellow Algerians CR Belouizdad also progressed on the away goal rule after winning 2-0 in the second leg at home to overturn a 3-1 deficit from the first leg.
Chouaib Keddad gave the hosts an early third minute lead, one till they kept till halftime. They upped the tempo in the second half and they sealed their place in the group phase four minutes into the second half when they scored the second through Khaled Bousseliou.
Elsewhere at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, Mamelodi Sundowns beat DR Congo’s AS Maniema 2-0 on the afternoon and 4-2 on aggregate to progress to the group phase.
Lyle Lakay and Peter Shalulile scored the goals in either half for Masandawana as they progressed to the group stages for the seventh consecutive time.
Lakay broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when he curled a brilliant freekick beyond the wall and past the keeper after a foul at the edge of the box.
Sundowns were off to a strong start in the second half with Sibusiso Vlakazi having a shot saved by the keeper early on. They however got into the lead in the 53rd minute when Namibian international Shalulile dumped the ball inside the net after the Maniema keeper had spilled a cross from Lakay.
Despite concerted pressure from the visitors, the Brazilians comfortably saw off the scoreline to sail through.
In Rades, four-time champions Esperance du Tunis endured tough resistance from Libyan champions AL Ittihad before winning 1-0 and progressing to the group phase.
The first leg between the two sides had ended barren and playing at home, Esperance were under pressure to contain the Libyans.
They got the solitary goal of the match in the 63rd minute through Nassim Ben Khalifa put the ball into the net.
The visitors had however to play the final 14 minutes plus additional time with a man less after Mouad Ellafi was sent off on a straight red card. The numerical superiority worked in Esperance’s advantage as they saw off the slim lead to progress.
In Conakry, Guinean champions Horoya AC have made it into the group stages after beating Stade Malien 2-1 on the afternoon and 3-1 on aggregate. The Guineans had won by a solitary goal in the first leg in Bamako and completed the job at home.
Dramane Nikiema gave Horoya the lead with a bullet of a strike, hitting a scorching shot from almost 40 yards out that caught the keeper flat footed.
They went to the break with a single goal lead and 2-0 on aggregate, but still cautious as Stade Malien were showing grit and determination to overturn the score.
They however put the game to some distance when Salif Coulibaly scored the second in the 58th minute with a strong header from Baffour Sebe’s corner to stretch the game to 3-0 on aggregate.
Coulibaly however almost turned from hero to villain when he turned the ball into his own net in the 72nd minute, but Stade Malien’s comeback could not run the full length.
Elsewhere, Sudan’s Al Hilal also booked a slot in the group stages after a hard earned 1-0 victry over Nigeria’s Rivers United. Hilal go through 2-1 on aggregate with the first leg away from home having ended in a 1-1 draw.
Playing their home matches at the Suez Stadium in Egypt, Hilal went all out to secure their place in the groups and they did so as early as the third minute of the game, Yaser Muzamil scoring the lone goal of the match.
They held on to this vital scoreline all game with the Nigerians dropping to the Confederation Cup.
In Casablanca, last season’s semi-finalists Wydad Club Athletic ran riot at home, hitting Ghana’s Hearts of Oak 6-1 to comfortably sail into the group stages with a 6-2 aggregate score. They had lost the first leg by a solitary goal in Accra, but were not ready to make the same mistake twice.
At home, Wydad were emphatic from the first whistle.
Within the opening 20 minutes, it was 3-0 and the tie now looked to be going away when Achraf Dari scored the third with a strong header.
Yahya Jabrane converted a penalty in the 36th minute as the home side went to the breather with a healthy four goal cushion.
In the second half, they continued their dominance with Ayoub El Amloud scoring the fifth goal in the 47th minute before Msuva completed his brace in the 61st minute.
The Phobians pulled one back with six minutes left, but it was all for statistics as the damage was all long done.