Johannesburg (AFP) – CAF Confederation Cup trophy-holders Raja Casablanca and former winners CS Sfaxien and Stade Malien all drew Saturday in play-off first legs.
But while Moroccans Raja and Tunisians Sfaxien will fancy their chances of overall victories next weekend after drawing away, Malians Stade are in trouble having being held at home.
Raja, whose Confederation Cup triumph last year was their sixth in all CAF competitions, came from behind to force a 1-1 deadlock against Namibians African Stars in Windhoek.
Alpheus Handura put the semi-professional home side ahead three minutes before half-time and Soufiane Rahimi levelled six minutes after the break.
In a qualifier for the play-offs, Raja slammed five goals past Gabonese outfit Cercle Sportif Mberi in Casablanca and a similar wide overall winning margin is now on the cards.
Record three-time Confederation Cup winners Sfaxien held Vipers SC from Uganda 0-0 in Kampala and it is hard to imagine them not winning the return match in Sfax comfortably.
Stade Malien, surprise winners of the 2009 Confederation Cup, could not defend a lead in Bamako and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Angolan visitors Petro Atletico.
Ali Badra Sylla put the hosts ahead midway through the first half only for Vladimiro ‘Va’ Etson to equalise within seven minutes.
Although Petro will believe the tie has tilted in their favour, the result did end a perfect four-victory record in the competition this season for the Luanda outfit.
The only team to win Saturday was Nkana from Zambia, who built a 3-0 lead in Kitwe over FC San Pedro from the Ivory Coast.
Ronald Kampamba broke the deadlock just before half-time and second-half goals from Joseph Musonda and Festus Mbewe completed an unexpectedly wide winning margin.
Another Zambian club, Zesco United, host Kaizer Chiefs from South Africa Sunday in a highlight of the nine-fixture schedule.
Aggregate winners after the return matches next weekend go into the group draw on January 21 with twice trophy-holders Etoile Sahel from Tunisia, who were given a play-offs bye.
The Confederation Cup is the second-tier African club competition and the play-offs pit 15 survivors from two qualifying rounds against CAF Champions League round-of-30 losers.
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