Africa– Mohamed Magdy scored his first CAF Champions League goal this
season for Al Ahly of Egypt as they drew
1-1 at Al Hilal of Sudan Saturday to book a quarter-finals place.
Midfielder Magdy netted on 49 minutes in Omdurman and
Abdelrazag Omer levelled six minutes into stoppage time to set up a tense
climax to the Group B matchday six clash.
Had Hilal scored again they would have qualified for the
February 5 knockout phase draw in Cairo at the expense of record eight-time
African champions Ahly.
A routine 2-0 win for Etoile Sahel of Tunisia at home to
Platinum of Zimbabwe gave them first place with 12 points, followed by Ahly
with 11 and Hilal with 10.
Etoile will be seeded for the last-eight draw with the other
group winners, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mamelodi
Sundowns of South Africa and Esperance of Tunisia.
Ahly, fellow Egyptians Zamalek and Casablanca clubs Wydad
and Raja are in the other half of the draw, and all eight title contenders have
won the elite CAF club competition.
Ahly can boast of eight titles, Mazembe and Zamalek (five
each), Esperance (four), Raja (three), Wydad (two) and Etoile and Sundowns (one
Apart from which clubs would qualify from Group B, the other
outstanding issue going into the final matchday was the contest for first place
in Group C between Sundowns and Wydad.
Sundowns needed only a draw to stay top of the table, but
collected all three thanks to a 1-0 win in Pretoria courtesy of a penalty
converted by Brazilian Ricardo Nascimento.
– Glimmer of hope –
When Magdy became the 13th Ahly player to score in 10
Champions League qualifying and group matches, Ahly regained first place from
Etoile, who had gone to the top one minute earlier.
But the Cairo Red Devils surrendered the leadership of the
group when Omer netted to give Hilal a glimmer of hope that they could progress
at the expense of Ahly.
Champions League leading scorer Karim Aribi bagged his 10th
goal of the campaign just after half-time to break the deadlock against
Platinum and Malek Baayou added a second.
Dominant Sundowns should have won by a wider margin against
Wydad, who nearly stole a draw at the death with Kazadi Kasengu having a header
brilliantly saved by Denis Onyango.
This was the 10th meeting between the clubs in four
consecutive editions of the Champions League with Wydad winning four, Sundowns
three, and three were drawn.
Although in opposite halves of the draw, they will not meet
again in the quater-finals as the rules bar clubs from the same group being
There will not be any ties involving teams from the same
country either as the Tunisian survivors are top seeds and the Egyptian and
Moroccan contenders are all second seeds.
The most dramatic of the eight matchday six encounters
involved non-qualifiers USM Alger of Algeria and Petro Luanda of Angola in
Blida, south of Algiers.
USM appeared set for a first win in Group C until
Hermenegildo ‘Picas’ Sengui and Brazilian Antonio ‘Tony’ Ribeiro scored within
60 seconds to snatch a 2-2 draw.