CAF Champions League 2020

Powerhouses dominate as CL group stage reaches midway

Esperance de Tunis held to an unexpected home barren draw by visitors AS Vita Club. Photo | CAF Online
Esperance de Tunis held to an unexpected home barren draw by visitors AS Vita Club. Photo | CAF Online


Midway was reached in the mini league stage of the 2019-20 Total CAF Champions League, with some of the African football powerhouses cementing their places and inching nearer to a place in the knockout stages.

Former champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo, South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns and holders Esperance of Tunisia top their respective groups with seven points each, while it’s a three way horse race at the top of Group B with the trio of Egypt’s Al Ahly, Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel and Sudan’s Al Hilal all tied at six points.

The coming Match Day 4 takes place in a fortnight with the reverse fixtures of Match Day 3 awaiting.

Group A

There was no winners or losers in this match day, as both games ended in a 1-1 draw. TP Mazembe returned from neighboring Angola with a point from Primeiro de Agosto. Rainford Kalaba gave “Les Corbeaux” an early lead at Luanda, just for Agostinho Cristovao Paciencia “Mabululu” to restore parity four minutes later. Mazembe continued their unbeaten run in this term.

In Ndola, visitors Zamalek took the lead at Zambia’s Zesco United 18 minutes from time. Substitute Mostafa Mohamed’s header looked to grab the Egyptians a famous away victory, but Quadri Aladeokun scored for the hosts just six minutes later as both sides shared spoils.

As it stands

1. TP Mazembe – 7 points

2. Zamalek – 4 points

3. Zesco United – 2 points

4. Primeiro de Agosto – 2 points

What’s next?

10.01.2020 Cairo: Zamalek – Zesco United

11.1.2020 Lubumbashi: TP Mazembe – Primeiro de Agosto

Group B

At halfway, Group B looks like the real “Group of Death”, with three sides tied at its top with six points each. Al Hilal surprised their hosts Etoile du Sahel in Rades to record their first ever victory in Tunisia ad return home with maximum points. Athat Attahir scored after the break to send his new coach Hamada Sedki to the best of debuts.

In Cairo, veteran Walid Soliman scored in every half to give Al Ahly a 2-0 victory over Zimbabwe’s Platinum. Soliman first headed from Ali Maaloul’s cross, then scored from the spot as Al Ahly grabbed their second successive home victory. With Platinum trailing the group pointless, it’s a three way summit with goal difference separating Etoile, Al Ahly and Hilal.

As it stands

1. Etoile du Sahel – 6 points

2. Al Ahly – 6 points

3. Al Hilal – 6 points

4. Platinum – 0 points

What’s next?

11.01.2020 Bulawayo: Platinum – Al Ahly

11.1.2020 Omdurman: Al Hilal – Etoile du Sahel

Group C

An away victory for Mamelodi Sundowns ensured “The Brazilians” end the year on top of the group. Skipper Hlomfo Kekana made use of USM Alger’s backline blunder to give Sundowns victory in Blida and raise the 2016 champions tally to seven points on top of the group. Sundowns talismanic goalkeeper Denis Onyango is yet to concede at this stage.

In Casablanca, striker Ayoub El Kaabi bid farewell to Moroccan giants Wydad in style, netting a hattrick against Angola’s Petro de Luanda as “WAC” won 4-1 on the night. El Kaabi whose loan spell from China’s Hebi Fortune expires with the new year’s start scored on both sides of Antonio Rosa Ribeiro “Toni” equalizer for the visitors, while Petro’s defender Wilson Pinto Gaspar also scored in his own net.

As it stands

1. Mamaelodi Sundowns – 7 points

2. Wydad – 5 points

3. USM Alger – 2 points

4. Petro de Luanda – 1 point

What’s next?

11.01.2020 Pretoria: Mamelodi Sundowns – USM Alger

11.1.2020 Luanda: Petro de Luanda – Wydad Casablanca

Group D

Defending champions Esperance were held to an unexpected home barren draw by visitors AS Vita of DR Congo. Esperance missed numerous chances, but remained unbeaten and without conceding a single goal in this term, while AS Vita grabbed their first point of the campaign.

In Casablanca, Ben Malango and Sofiane Rahimi scored in quick succession after the break as Morocco’s Raja defeated Algerian neighbors JS Kabylie 2-0 to get their second successive victory and go second, one point behind Esperance.

As it stands

1. Esperance – 7 points

2. Raja Casablanca – 6 points

3. JS Kabylie – 3 points

4. AS Vita – 1 point

What’s next?

10.01.2020 Tizi Ouzou: JS Kabylie – Raja Casablanca

11.1.2020 Kinshasa: AS Vita – Esperance