Johannesburg (AFP) – Victor Mbaoma enhanced his reputation as a penalty area predator by scoring the winner as Enyimba of Nigeria edged Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya 2-1 Wednesday on CAF Confederation Cup matchday 1.
Entente Setif of Algeria and Orlando Pirates of South Africa battled to a 0-0 draw in another high-profile match in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.
There was no joy for the two Zambian hopefuls with Nkana crashing 3-0 to Pyramids in Egypt and NAPSA Stars falling 2-0 to title-holders Renaissance Berkane in Morocco.
Tunisian clubs Etoile Sahel and record three-time Confederation Cup winners CS Sfaxien fared better with home victories over Jaraaf of Senegal and Salitas of Burkina Faso.
Raja Casablanca of Morocco and JS Kabylie of Algeria also used home advantage to collect maximum points with solitary-goal wins over Namungo of Tanzania and Coton Sport of Cameroon.
Namungo and Coton finished with 10 men after both Tanzanian Haruna Shamte and Cameroonian Goni Ali were sent off having been yellow-carded twice.
Enyimba faced Benghazi in southeastern Nigerian city Aba brimming with confidence after coach Fatai Osho said his team were powerful enough to become the first Nigerian club to lift the trophy.
They have been two-time winners of both the CAF Champions League and the CAF Super Cup, but their best Confederation Cup showing was reaching the 2018 semi-finals.
Enyimba took only 10 minutes to score, through captain Austin Oladapo, but the Libyans levelled soon after via an Abdallah Imhamed penalty.
– Eight-goal tally –
Mbaoma increased his CAF goal tally to eight from 12 matches when he struck what proved to be match winner from close range just before half-time.
Winning gave Enyimba a two-point lead in Group A after two other former African champions, Setif and Pirates, failed to score in Accra.
The home fixture of Setif was moved to Ghana because Algerian coronavirus regulations prevented Pirates travelling to the north Africa nation.
It came as no surprise that Nkana were outplayed by Pyramids in Group D as this was the 19th visit of the Zambian club to the north of the continent and the best result they have managed is one draw.
Pyramids were runners-up to Berkane last season and wasted no time establishing their authority as Palestinian Mahmoud Wadi and Islam Issa netted within nine minutes of the kickoff.
African debutants NAPSA were sunk by first-half goals from Zakaria Hadraf and 35-year-old Mouhcine Iajour in Group B as Berkane seek to become the third back-to-back winners of the competition.
Soufiane Rahimi, the five-goal leading scorer, at the recent African Nations Championship in Cameroon, was the Raja match-winner in Group D.
Kabylie, whose last of six CAF titles came 19 years ago, left it late against Coton in Group B with Badreddine Souyah snatching his third African goal two minutes from the end of regular time.
In Group C, Hamza Lahmar bagged a brace for twice Confederation Cup winners Etoile and an Aymen Harzi penalty enabled Sfaxien to bag three points.