The journey towards the group phase of the CAF Confederation Cup play-off round results started to shape out this weekend with the first leg of the play-off round matches played.
Kenya’s representatives Tusker FC and Gor Mahia both have not yet solidly put their arms around a group stage ticket with Tusker playing to a 0-0 draw with Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien in Nairobi while Gor Mahia lost by a solitary goal to Congo’s AS Otoho d’Oyo away from home.
SportsLeo looks at a summary of the weekend’s results and who has the advantage ahead of the second leg matches next Sunday.
Tanzania’s Simba SC and Zambia’s Zanaco were among the big winners as each of them clinched 3-0 victories at home in the first leg ties.
In Dar es Salaam, Ghanaian forward Bernard Morrison put up a starring performance, scoring twice and assisting one as Simba thrashed Zambian side Red Arrows 3-0.
Morrison should have had a hattrick, but missed a first-half penalty as Smba completely ran over their hosts.
The forward broke the deadlock in the 17th minute with a brilliant freekick from 20 yards out, curled beyond the wall and bounced against the inside of the post before rolling into the net.
He then provided the second two minutes later when some deft footwork from the left accorded him some path into the box and then cut back a cross that was easily tapped home by Meddie Kagere.
Morrison should have made it two for himself and three for Simba in the 32nd minute when he was fouled inside the box, but he saw his penalty saved by the Red Arrows keeper.
He however made amends in the second half with a beautiful goal 12 minutes to time, dribbling his way into the box from the left before scoring past the keeper with a nutmeg.
Meanwhile in Lusaka, home side Zanaco also put themselves firmly in control with a similar victory over Mali’s Binga. Abraham Siankombo gave the home side the lead after 37 minutes, one they guarded till half time.
A Moses Phiri doubles in the second half scored in the 51st and 72nd minutes to give the bankers a comfortable win at home to defend when they travel for the return leg next weekend.
Elsewhere in DR Congo, Mahmoud Wadi’s solo strike in the 15th minute was all Pyramids FC needed to beat AS Maniema.
Away from home, South African giants Orlando Pirates moved close to a group stage berth after beating Liberian outfit LPRC Oilers 2-0 at the Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia.
Tshegofatso Mabasa and Fortune Makaringe scored a goal each in the extreme ends of either half to hand The Bucaneers an edge heading to the return leg in Johannesburg
The home side would have taken the lead after 39 minutes off the penalty spot after a handball inside the box, but goalkeeper Ebenezer Solo who stepped up to take responsibility blasted his effort over.
They were immediately punished when Terrence Dzvukamanja put Mabasa through, the latter slotting the ball home with a minute left to halftime.
CAF Confederation Cup play-off round results, Oilers put in a fight to try to get themselves back into contention in the second half, but they couldn’t get a goal to sway their energy back.
They were instead made to pay in the second minute of added time when Makaringe headed home from close range to all but surely seal the win for his side.
Also, Côte d’Ivoire’s Asec Mimosas, Mali’s Stade Malien and Niger’s US Gendermerie clinched comfortable home wins.
At the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Asec pit in a brilliant second half fight to beat Angola’s Interclube 2-0 and put themselves firmly in control of the tie.
Karim Konate struck a second half brace to hand the home side maximum points after a goalless first half. Konate broke the deadlock three minutes after the break before he doubled the tally at the stroke of 90 minutes.
In Niger, home side Gendermarie also picked a 2-0 victory when they beat DC Motema Pembe of the DR Congo with goals in the 49th and 74 minutes.
In Bamako, Aly Sisoko scored the lone goal as Stade Malien beat Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli by a solitary goal. Elsewhere, Mauritania’s FC Nouadhibou were held to a goalless draw by Cotonsport of Cameroon.