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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

CAF Champions League First Round Recap: ASFAR, Young Africans and Étoile du Sahel take first leg leads back home

The 2023-24 CAF Champions League began over the weekend with the first leg of the first qualifying round and there were plenty of surprise results as well as positive beginnings for a few of the favorites. Orlando Pirates, ASFAR, Étoile du Sahel and last season’s CAF Confederation Cup runners-up Young Africans all earned victories on the road to put themselves in excellent position for their second leg matches at home. Meanwhile, Rwanda’s APR FC and Primeiro de Agosto of Angola were among the teams who ended the weekend with disappointment.

ASFAR faced a familiar foe on Sunday and earned a valuable 1-0 victory at Togolese champions ASKO Kara. The two teams met in last season’s CAF Confederation Cup and this time the Moroccan champions came out on top in Togo courtesy of a first half strike from Ivorian forward Lamine Diakité. South Africa’s Orlando Pirates also won by the same score in Comoros against minnows Djabal FC despite an underwhelming performance with Zakhele Lepasa scoring the only goal late.

Étoile du Sahel came out on top in a North African derby, defeating Algerian runners-up CS Constantine with a two-goal advantage to take back to Tunisia. Joining Étoile, Orlando Pirates and ASFAR as first leg winners were Tanzanian champions Young Africans (2-0 victory), Ethiopia’s Saint George, Malawian champions Big Bullets, Mauritania’s FC Nouadhibou, UD Songo of Mozambique and Namibia’s African Stars.

The most thrilling match happened on Sunday where an energized crowd watched Libya’s Al-Ahly Benghazi defeat Enyimba of Nigeria by a 4-3 score. The Nigerian club did well to find three away goals but conceded a late match winner in the final seconds of second half stoppage time. Nigeria’s other representative fell away from home as Remo Stars were defeated by Ghanaian champions Medeama SC by a 1-0 score.

All the results from the weekend are below followed by highlights from plenty of the first leg matches.

Of note is that Niger’s AS GNN and AS Douanes of Burkina Faso will begin their duel with the first leg next weekend on August 25.


First Leg Results

KMKM (Zanzibar) 1-2 Saint George (Ethiopia)

CS Constantine (Algeria) 0-2 Étoile du Sahel (Tunisia)

Djabal FC (Comoros) 0-1 Orlando Pirates (S. Africa)

APR FC (Rwanda) 1-1 Gaadiidka (Somalia)

African Stars (Namibia) 2-1 Power Dynamos (Zambia)

CS Bendje (Gabon) 1-1 Bumamuru FC (Burundi)

Real Bamako (Mali) 0-0 Coton Sport (Cameroon)

Bo Rangers (S. Leone) 1-1 LISCR FC (Liberia)

Jwaneng Galaxy (Botswana) 2-0 Vipers SC (Uganda)

UD Songo (Mozambique) 1-0 Green Mamba (Eswatini)

ASAS (Djibouti) 0-2 Young Africans (Tanzania)

Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) 0-0 AS Vita Club (DR Congo)

AS Otohô (Congo) 1-1 Al-Merrikh (Sudan)

ASKO Kara (Togo) 0-1 ASFAR (Morocco)

Dragón FC (Eq. Guinea) 0-2 Big Bullets (Malawi)

Medeama SC (Ghana) 1-0 Remo Stars (Nigeria)

FC Nouadhibou (Mauritania) 2-0 Al Ahli Tripoli (Libya)

Coton Sport (Benin) 0-0 ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)

Hafia FC (Guinea) 0-0 Génération Foot (Senegal)

Al Ahli Benghazi (Libya) 4-3 Enyimba (Nigeria)

Al-Hilal Omdurman (Sudan) defeats Salaam FC Bor by walkover

AS GNN (Niger) v AS Douanes (Burkina Faso)

First leg will be played on August 25


Al Ahli Benghazi 4-3 Enyimba

ASAS 0-2 Young Africans