04.05.2015 15:23 h

Algerian clubs create CAF League history

Algeria became the first country to have three clubs in the CAF Champions League group stage when Entente Setif, USM Alger and Mouloudia El Eulma won last-16 ties.

Title-holders Setif and Eulma won penalty shootouts against Moroccans Raja Casablanca and Tunisians CS Sfaxien respectively at the weekend.

And USMA advanced after drawing with Guineans Kaloum in a match moved from Conakry to Malian capital Bamako because of the Ebola epidemic.

Clubs from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Tunisia secured two places each in previous editions of the elite African competition.

Algeria were allocated three slots after Setif won the competition last season and the clubs took full advantage to create history.

Sudan were also celebrating after Al Hilal and El Merreikh qualified while the other three places were filled by Congolese TP Mazembe, Egyptians Smouha and Moroccans Moghreb Tetouan.

Only Setif and Mazembe have been crowned African champions and Eulma, Smouha and Tetouan are group-stage debutants.

This contrasts with the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup where 10 of the 16 sides contesting the play-offs are former Champions League title-holders.

Setif got the three-prong Algerian assault off to a successful start with a 4-1 shootout victory at home after a second 2-2 draw with Raja.

USM joined them by holding Kaloum 1-1 having taken a one-goal lead to west Africa. Malagasy Charles Andriamanitsinoro scored for the Algiers club and Aboubacar Sylla levelled.

Eulma took a 1-0 lead over CS Sfaxien to Tunisia and the return match produced another home win by the same scoreline with Maher Hannachi netting just after half-time.

The shootout went 7-6 in favour of the Algerians when Ghazi Chellouf missed.

Defeat for Sfaxien completed a disastrous weekend for Tunisia with two-time champions Esperance also making an unexpected exit despite defeating Merrikh 2-1 in Rades.

The Sudanese advanced on the away-goal rule having won 1-0 in Omdurman two weeks ago.

Ahmed Dofor gave the visitors an early lead, Cameroonian Yannick Ndjeng equalised and Arbi Jabeur snatched a hollow stoppage-time match-winner.

Hilal exceeded expectations by winning both games against DR Congo side Sanga Balende 1-0 with Saif Masawi scoring the second-leg goal after 62 minutes in Omdurman.

Recent signing Roger Assale scored the match and tie-clinching goal as Mazembe edged Malians Stade Malien 2-1 in Congolese mining city Lubumbashi.

Like the 2-2 first leg in Bamako, the return game was a thriller with Jean Kasusula giving Mazembe a mid-first half lead.

Ousmane Diabate levelled midway through the second half only for Ivorian Assale to score three minutes later.

A draw to split the eight survivors into two groups is scheduled for Tuesday in Cairo.

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