Johannesburg (AFP) – Egyptian Mahmoud Hamdy and Tunisian Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, both of whom played in the recent Africa Cup of Nations, starred in the CAF Champions League on Saturday.
Centre-back Hamdy scored five minutes into added time to rescue a 2-2 Group D draw for Zamalek at home against Petro Luanda of Angola as the group phase kicked off.
The five-time African champions from Cairo trailed by two goals at half-time and were facing a stunning defeat until Youssef ‘Obama’ Ibrahim halved the deficit and Hamdy levelled.
Ben Romdhane bagged a first-half hat-trick as Esperance of Tunisia romped to a 4-0 Group C victory in Rades over outclassed group debutants Jwaneng Galaxy from Botswana.
The winger completed his treble within 32 minutes of the kick-off and there were no further goals until Nigerian Kingsley Eduwo netted four minutes from time.
Hamdy was part of the Egypt team beaten on penalties by Senegal in the Cup of Nations final last Sunday while Tunisia lost to Burkina Faso the previous weekend in the quarter-finals.
Raja Casablanca edged South African visitors AmaZulu 1-0 in Group B through a goal from 35-year-old captain Mohsine Moutaouali.
Algerian outfit Entente Setif also won 1-0 in the same section, away to Horoya of Guinea, through an early second-half goal from Ahmed Kendouci in Conakry.
On Friday, there were wins for Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa over Al Hilal of Sudan in Group A and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco against Sagrada Esperance of Angola in Group D.
– Galaxy see stars –
Etoile Sahel of Tunisia and Chabab Belouizdad of Algeria drew 0-0 in Group C in the only matchday 1 fixture not to produce any goals.
Defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt, who are seeking a record third straight title, did not host Al Merrikh of Sudan due to Club World Cup commitments in the United Arab Emirates, where they came third.
In Cairo, goals from Brazilian Gleison Moreira and Victor ‘Vidinho’ Nanque put Petro on course for a huge upset before Zamalek recovered.
‘Obama’ scored with a low shot into the corner on 57 minutes and Hamdy equalised with a close-range shot that deflected off Augusto Carneiro and over Brazilian goalkeeper Wellington Lima.
The result left both clubs two points behind Wydad, who were far too strong for Sagrada and Achraf Dari, captain Yahya Jabrane, from a penalty, and Congo Brazzaville-born Guy Mbenza scored in a 3-0 win.
After a shock qualification at the expense of Simba from Tanzania, Galaxy fell behind within a minute against four-time champions Esperance as Ben Romdhane scored off a half volley.
After using his right foot to break the deadlock, the Tunisian proved equally adept with his left to fire past Ezekiel Morake from close range, and completed his hat-trick via a low, side-footed shot.
AmaZulu, a Durban club formed 90 years ago but competing in Africa for the first time this season, held Raja for 66 minutes before Moutaouali struck the ball between the legs of goalkeper Veli Mothwa.
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