The defending CAF Confederation Cup champions are out! Moroccan side RS Berkane were punished for poor domestic form and sleepwalking through their CAFCC group stage campaign, a 1-0 upset loss in Lusaka to NAPSA Stars resulting in their elimination before the final day. The Pensioners from Zambia were already eliminated but will be glad to snatch their first victory of the group stage. In the other match Cameroonian side Cotonsport lost 2-1 at home to JS Kabylie but were relieved to find that Berkane’s defeat saved them from any last day dramatics as they and JSS advance.
It was yet another stale performance from Berkane with little to no attacking creativity or spark. Early on NAPSA Stars struggled to get themselves into the match and RSB should have taken advantage to obtain an early goal. Zakaria Hadraf was in a harmless position out wide in the 16th minute but his blind cross nearly looped into the goal, leaving NAPSA goalkeeper Shaaban Odhoji rooted to his spot as the ball bounced off the post and out.
However, NAPSA gained momentum from the wastefulness of the favorites and found the winner on 52 minutes. Austin Banda whipped in a cross from the right flank and Doisy Soko flicked a perfect header to loop in over Hamza Akbi Hamiani in the Berkane goal. RSB scrambled to find an equalizer but their favored method of scoring off set pieces couldn’t bring them relief.
JS Kabylie played their road encounter in Cameroon perfectly, emerging with a 2-1 road victory against a Cotonsport side who failed to bring the high energy level that has characterized their CAFCC campaign. Cotonsport midfielder Sibiri Sanou helped the Algerian side’s case significantly when he picked up a foolish second yellow card in the 57th minute.
JSS capitalized soon after with goals in the 63rd and 68th minutes. Rida Bensayah was sent in by a Mohamed Benchaira through ball to shoot home and then a well-executed corner kick resulted in Walid Bencherifa being wide open to slot home from close range. Cotonsport scored a late penalty-kick for a consolation but the performance from JSS on the day came at a crucial time.
Highlights from both games are below as JSS and Cotonsport will be the teams from Group B in the CAFCC quarter-finals.