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Zesco triumph seals great weekend for Zambian clubs

Johannesburg (AFP) – Zesco United defeated South Africa visitors Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 Sunday to complete a successful weekend for Zambian clubs in the first legs of CAF Confederation Cup play-offs.

Nkana trounced San Pedro from the Ivory Coast 3-0 Saturday and the chances of both Zambian representatives reaching the group stage after the return matches next weekend look good.

Lazarous Kambole, whose five-minute hat-trick last season is the fastest in a CAF club match, put Zesco ahead midway through the opening half in Ndola.  

Kenyan Jesse Were soon doubled the lead before Zimbabwean Khama Billiat halved the deficit just before half-time.

Were netted again early in the second half and Billiat had a goal ruled offside before the normally clinical Kambole missed a sitter for the home side.    

Zesco went furthest in a CAF competition three years ago by reaching the Champions League semi-finals before losing to another South African club, Mamelodi Sundowns.  

Chiefs won the now defunct African Cup Winners Cup in 2001, but have made no impact in continental competitions since.

The return match in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League will be in Soweto this Saturday and Nkana play in Abidjan 24 hours later. 

Asante Kotoko, runners-up to fellow Ghanaians Hearts of Oak in the first Confederation Cup final 15 years ago, are poised to advance after a 3-2 win over Coton Sport in Cameroon.

The Kumasi outfit twice built two-goal advantages in Yaounde before a 71st-minute Lambert Araina goal for the home side set up a tense finish.

– Well placed –  

Nigerians Enugu Rangers, the African Cup Winners Cup trophy-holders 42 years ago, are also well placed thanks to a 2-1 victory over Bantu in Lesotho capital Maseru.   

Bright Silas and Godwin Aguda scored their fourth goals in the competition this season for Rangers before Lazola Jokojokwana pulled one back in the final minute.

Egyptians Zamalek, whose last of nine CAF titles came in 2003, held Ittihad Tanger to a 0-0 draw in Morocco and confirmed that they are favourites to win the tie on aggregate.  

Kenyans Gor Mahia had hopes of a second successive Confederation Cup group appearance reduced when they won only 2-1 against New Star from Cameroon in Nairobi.   

Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge scored the winner three minutes from time, but conceding an equaliser to Benjamin Bechem midway through the second half may come back to haunt Gor.  

Away goals count double in the event of a draw on aggregate and a 1-0 win for the Cameroonians in Limbe will take them through.  

AS Otoho from Congo Brazzaville and Sudanese Al Hilal established 3-0 home leads over Kampala Capital City Authority from Uganda and Rwandans Mukura Victory respectively. 

Moroccans Hassania Agadir appear set to feature in the January 21 group draw in Cairo after Zouhair Chaouch scored in a 1-0 win over Ethiopians Jimma Aba Jifar in Addis Ababa. 

Less obvious is which club will emerge overall winners in the tie between Libyans Al Nasr and giantkillers Salitas from Burkina Faso, who shocked Egyptians Al Masry last month.

The north Africans took a slender 1-0 lead after a first leg moved from Benghazi to Cairo because of the security situation in Libya.

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