Zamalek progress after draw with Vita Club

KINSHASA – Zamalek of Egypt forced a 0-0 draw at former winners Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo to narrowly reach the Caf Champions League final qualifying round.
Zamalek progress in Champions League after Vita draw. Net photo.
Zamalek progress in Champions League after Vita draw. Net photo.

KINSHASA – Zamalek of Egypt forced a 0-0 draw at former winners Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo to narrowly reach the Caf Champions League final qualifying round.

Zamalek, winners of the title on five previous occasions, won the last-32 tie 1-0 on aggregate thanks to their slender lead from the first leg in Cairo.

The match at the 80,000-seat Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa was one of 16 ties reaching their conclusion.

Vita - who started slowly - struck the woodwork before a brilliant goal-line clearance from Mahmoud Fathallah rescued Zamalek.

The Congolese continued to press after half-time without troubling goalkeeper Abdelwahed Al Sayed and Burkina Faso-born Abdoulaye Cisse wasted a late chance for Zamalek.

It was the first serious test of the Egyptians in Africa this season after knocking seven unanswered goals past Gazelle of Chad in a preliminary tie while Vita won home and away against Dynamic of Togo.

Former champions Esperance of Tunisia, Orlando Pirates of South Africa,  Recreativo Libolo  of Angola and  Stade Malien  of Mali also progressed.

Esperance, winners once and runners-up twice in the past three seasons, had to wait 88 minutes before Khalil Chemmam converted a penalty for a 1-0 win over Angolan visitors Primeiro Agosto - the same score they won by in Luanda.

Pirates, the only South African winners of the Champions League, edged Zanaco of Zambia 2-1 in Soweto after a 1-0 first-leg victory.

Libolo beat El Merreikh 2-1 in Sudan for a 4-2 overall success. On a miserable weekend for Sudanese clubs, Al Hilal were ousted by Sewe San Pedro of Ivory Coast the previous day in another shock. Al Hilal won the home leg 3-1 but went out 5-4 on aggregate.

Stade Malien of Mali overcame Casa Sport of Senegal 2-0 in Bamako having won the first leg 2-1. Morimakan Koita scored on the half-hour mark and Abdoulaye Sissoko added a second midway through the second half.

The 1988 title-holders Entente Setif of Algeria beat ASFA Yennenga of Burkina Faso 4-2 to go through 5-4 on aggregate.

In the pick of the ties still to be concluded,  Union Douala,  African champions in 1979 when Cameroon were a leading club power on the continent, look to be on the way out after a 3-0 hiding from  FUS Rabat  in Morocco.

Brahim El Bahri, Marwane Saadane and Mohamed Fouzair scored for the surprise 2010 Confederation Cup winners and it is difficult to imagine the Moroccans letting such a commanding lead slip in Atlantic port city Douala.

Elsewhere, holders Al-Ahly of Egypt have a 2-1 advantage over Kenyan side Tusker and Asante Kotoko  of Ghana, winners in 1970 and 1983, will expect to secure a last-16 place after forcing a goalless draw in Algeria against  JSM Bejaia.

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