- Simba and Berkane were the biggest winners from teh first round of matches
- The winner of the CAF COnfederation Cup pockets Ksh142mn
- Top two teams from each group advance to the quarter finals
Tanzanian giants Simba SC and Morocco’s RS Berkane picked massive wins on the opening day of group matches in the CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday.
Simba won 3-1 at home against Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast while Berkane thrashed Niger debutants Union Sportive Gendarmerie Nationale (USGN) 5-3 in Morocco.
At the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, goals from Shomari Kapombe, Pape Sakho and Peter Banda had the goals to hand Wekundu wa Msimbazi a perfect start into the group phase of the competition.
Simba broke the deadlock after 12 minutes when Sakho struck a sublime overhead kick from inside the box after being picked out by a pin point cross from Kapombe.
The home side continued to dominate and had more chances with Meddie Kagere being denied by the upright after taking a well taken low shot from the edge of the area. Sakho also had a chance to double his tally for the afternoon when he ran into the box but skied his effort one on one with the keeper.
Simba were made to pay for the missed chances in the second half by the Ivorians when Aziz Ki made the most of a defensive mix up to level matters for the visitors on the hour mark.
But, the home side was awakened by the equalizer and pushed by the home crowd, put in more in attack. They were handed a way back into the match in the 79th minute from the penalty spot, after the Asec keeper pulled down Sakho inside the box. Kapombe stepped up, expertly tucking away the spot kick.
The cemented the win two minutes later when Malawian international Banda finished off a cross from skipper John Bocco.
-RS Berkane 5-3 USGN
Elsewhere in Morocco, RS Berkane picked up a first win in Group D after beating USGN 5-3 at home, a victory that boosted their confidence of another appearance in the final.
Mouad Fekkak struck a quickfire brace in the 18th and 20th minutes to give the home side a comfortable cushion. The youngster broke the deadlock after he ran on to an Issoufou Dayo ball from deep in his area, taking a touch with his head before shooting low.
Two minutes later he continued with his dream start when he sneaked in behind the defense to stretch a boot and tap home a cross from Chadrack Lukombe.
USGN’s day continued downhill with Charki El Bahri giving Florent Ibenge’s men a comfortable 3-0 lead inside the opening 25 minutes when he ran on to a defense splitting pass from veteran Omar Namsaoui.
The home side had more chances with Namsaoui seeing a freekick saved just after Fekkak had headed wide from a cross.
In the second half though, things seemed to have changed for the boys from Niamey when they scored two goals within three minutes to come to within touching distance of the game.
Victorien Adebayor pulled one back in the 49th minute when he picked up a loose ball inside the box.
Hassan Boubacar then scored the second with a shot inside the box off a Doe Domenyo cross.
The Niger side now had the belief that they could turn the game on its head, but they were pegged back when Lukombe scored in the 65th minute with a smashing finish from the backpost after Dayo had put him through from a keeper’s spilled ball.
Two minutes later, it was five for Berkane when Najji Larbi found the back of the net after volleying the ball home following a brush from a corner.
USGN pulled one back through Adebayor off a cool finish from a swift counter attack, but the hope of a remarkable comeback could not come into fruition.
Elsewhere in Tunis, CS Sfaxien needed a 95th minute penalty to pick maximum points in a 1-0 victory over Zambian side Zanaco.
Mohamed Ben Ali stepped up to the pressure plate to convert the penalty after a handball inside the box. It was the best chance of the game in a tie that didn’t provide much of scoring opportunities.
In other results, TP Mazembe took a precious 1-0 win at home against AS Otoho d’Oyo to kick start their Group C campaign on a high. Richard Njoh scored the lone goal for Mazembe in the 37th minute with a freekick.
Also, South African giants Pirates were 2-0 winners over Algeria’s JS Saoura while Egyptian side Pyramids, losing finalists of the 2019-20 season, came from behind to beat Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli 2-1 in Cairo.