Africa– Fedi Ben Choug made a dramatic impact off the bench for holders
Esperance of Tunisia this weekend in a 2-2 draw with Raja Casablanca of
Morocco, which qualified both clubs for the CAF Champions League
Ben Choug was introduced after 81 minutes in Rades on the
outskirts of Tunis and equalised 16 seconds later with a snap shot from inside
the box after Raja failed to clear a free-kick.
Abdelraouf Benguit gave four-time African champions
Esperance a half-time lead that Congolese Fabrice Ngah cancelled early in the
Captain Badr Banoun put Raja ahead as the top-of-the-table
Group D matchday five showdown entered the final quarter.
The visiting team retained the lead for 14 minutes before
Ben Choug scored his second Champions League goal this season to salvage a
point for the hosts.
Esperance have 11 points with one round remaining, Raja
eight and V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo and JS Kabylie of Algeria
The defending champions are guaranteed to finish first
because even if Raja draw level on points after the last matches on February 1,
Esperance have a better head-to-head record.
Topping the final standings means Esperance will be among
the four seeded clubs in the February 9 quarter-finals draw in Cairo, and have
home advantage in the second leg.
– Remarkable scoreline –
V Club trounced Kabylie 4-1 in Kinshasa — a remarkable
scoreline considering the Congolese had found the net just twice in eight
previous qualifying and group matches this season.
After both clubs netted in the opening half, Yannick Bangala
and Fiston Mayele scored either side of a Nabil Saadou own-goal to lift V Club
off the bottom of the table.
Zamalek of Egypt and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco also
reached the last eight, joining Raja, Esperance, and earlier qualifiers TP
Mazembe of DR Congo and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
Mazembe won Group A by forcing a 0-0 draw in Cairo against
Zamalek, whose quarter-finals place was assured when Primeiro Agosto of Angola
were held 1-1 at Zesco United of Zambia.
French coach Sebastien Desabre made a winning debut with
Wydad, who triumphed 3-1 at home over USM Alger of Algeria to be sure of a
top-two finish in Group C.
Sundowns are two points ahead of Wydad after a Motjeka
Madisha stoppage-time goal snatched a 2-2 draw at Petro Luanda of Angola, and
they host the Casablanca outfit in the final round.
Substitute Mohamed Eldai struck on 84 minutes to grab a 1-0
away win for Al Hilal of Sudan over Platinum of Zimbabwe in Group B, whose
qualifiers will be decided only next Saturday.
Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, who meet record eight-time African
champions Al Ahly of Egypt in Cairo later Sunday, and Hilal have nine points
each, Ahly seven and Platinum one.