Johannesburg (AFP) – Kaizer Chiefs stole the show as they, title-holders Al Ahly and Chabab Belouizdad used home advantage to build CAF Champions League quarter-finals first-leg leads on Saturday.
South African club Chiefs stunned Tanzanian visitors Simba 4-0 in Soweto with Serbian Samir Nurkovic scoring twice and creating another goal.
A late goal from Salah Mohsen gave Egyptian and African giants Ahly a 2-0 advantage over Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in Cairo as they pursue a record-extending 10th title.
Last-eight debutants Chabab Belouizdad of Algeria also triumphed 2-0, against four-time champions Esperance from Tunisia, with Amir Sayoud claiming a chart-topping eighth goal of the campaign.
On Friday, twice champions Wydad Casablanca from Morocco took a big step toward the semi-finals by forcing a 1-1 draw away to Mouloudia Alger in Algeria.
All four return matches will be played next Saturday, the two-leg semi-finals are scheduled for June and Casablanca will host the single-match final on July 17.
Chiefs faced Simba having scored only seven goals in 10 previous Champions League matches and were the only contenders to average less than a goal a game.
Simba, on the other hand, had been impressive qualifiers for the knockout stage, topping a group that included Ahly and conceding just three goals in 10 games.
From the kickoff Chiefs exploited the aerial weakness of the Simba central defenders and headed goals by Eric Mathoho and Nurkovic build a 2-0 half-time advantage.
– Stood bewildered –
In the space of six second-half minutes Chiefs doubled their lead as Nurkovic scored again with a close-range shot before Colombian Leonardo Castro beat goalkeeper Aishi Manula with a diving header.
France-born Simba coach Didier Gomes da Rosa stood bewildered on the sideline, praying for an away goal that would give his multi-national outfit a glimmer of hope, but it never came.
Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane likened his previous club Sundowns to a “monster he created that was coming to bite him”, but the fears of the South African proved unfounded.
Mohammed Taher put the Cairo Red Devils ahead midway through the first half by cutting inside and firing past veteran Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
Sundowns dominated second-half possession and were defied several times by the brilliance of Ahly captain and goalkeeper Mohamed el Shenawy before Mohsen delivered the 89th-minute sucker punch.
Ahly and Sundowns have met nine times in the Champions League, starting with the 2001 final, and the Egyptian club have won five of the matches and lost only once.
In Algiers, Belouizdad added Esperance to a list of recent high-profile victims, including five-time champions TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sundowns.
Zakaria Draoui starred for Chabab, scoring the first goal as half-time approached and setting up Sayoud for the crucial second with eight minutes remaining.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Hrustic, Rogic spearhead Australia squad for crunch World Cup playoff
- Deal Alert: Best streaming deals this Memorial Day Weekend
- Africa beckons for Royal after dramatic draw with Orlando Pirates
- Regret? Skupski prioritises French Open over Champions League ticket
- Klopp urges Liverpool to show Madrid who’s boss in Champions League final
- Ancelotti says Real Madrid can achieve ‘the maximum’ by winning Champions League
- Mancini thanks Chiellini before Italy send-off against Argentina
- How to watch UEFA Nations League on US TV and streaming
- Klopp shrugs off Mane speculation, but concerned over new Paris pitch
- ‘Things change’ – Ceferin warns Europe’s old elite before Champions League final