- Simba were still under interim coach Denis Cadena
- Mamelodi Sundowns earned the biggest match week one win
- Moroccan giants Wydad were stunned by Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy
Tanzanian giants Simba SC started their CAF Champions League campaign with a draw at home, after playing to a 1-1 stalemate with Ivorian side Asec Mimosas at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam. Serge N’guessan Pokou’s goal 13 minutes from time broke Simba’s hearts, cancelling out Saido Ntibanzokiza’s earlier goal.
Burundian Saido broke the deadlock a minute to the break when he converted from the penalty spot after Dennis Kibu’s shot was handled inside the box. The experienced forward expertly tucked away his penalty as Simba went to the break a goal up.
They had knocked on the Asec door all afternoon, and deservedly got the lead.
In the second half, they started brightly once again, but they were guilty of many missed chances. They were punished in the 77th minute when Pokou scored the leveller with a beautiful side footed finish in a move he initiated himself.
He had made a run from midfield, spreading the ball wide to Sankara Karamoko, the latter cutting back a cross that met his run, slapping the ball home.
Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy with shock result
The result means Simba are third in the group, with Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy taking a shock lead, after edging out last season’s losing finalists Wydad Athletic Club at home in Casablanca. It was one of the surprise results of the opening round.
Thabang Sesinyi scored the lone goal for Jwaneng in the first half when he made the most of a poor backpass by the Wydad defense before slotting past the keeper.
Meanwhile, Africa Football League (AFL) champions Mamelodi Sundowns began their quest for the second CAF Champions League title with a well worked 3-0 victory over Mauritania outfit FC Nouadhibou.
Goals from Lucas Ribeiro, Peter Shalulile and Gaston Sirino saw Masandawana cruise to victory.
The home side started the duel well, putting pressure from the first minute. They got into the lead halfway through the first half when Khuliso Mudau launched a counter attack which resulted in Ribeiro finding the back of the net.
The lead would be doubled shortly afterwards by Shalulile, who scored his second in as many games since returning from injury when he headed home the in-swinging corner from Marcelo Allende.
The Brazilians would manage proceedings until the break and went into halftime with a two-goal advantage to protect.
Substitute Sirino completes the job
Substitute Sirino would be involved in the biggest flashpoint of the second half, when he was brought down cynically by Diop as the last man, resulting in the Mauritian team being reduced to 10 men as their keeper was sent off.
Sirino stepped up to the plate and slotted home the very free kick which he won on the edge of the box to make the result a certainty for the team in yellow.
Sundowns now lead Group A on goal difference, with Egyptian giants Pyramids having also started their campaign on a winning note with a 1-0 victory over TP Mazembe in Cairo. South African forward Fagrie Lakay scored the lone goal in the first half, to give the Egyptians victory.
Meanwhile in other matches, Esperance du Tunis started their campaign positively as well, with a 2-0 victory over local rivals Etoile du Sahel in Rades.
Second half goals from Yan Sasse and Yassine Meriah, the latter from the penalty spot, gave Taraji three perfect points to move top of Group C. Angola’s Petro de Luanda are second after beating Sudanese champions Al Hilal 1-0 courtesy of a 37th minute goal from Inacio Miguel.
The group phase of the Champions League resumes with match day two next weekend.