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CARA, Enyimba triumph, Zamalek crash in CAF Cup

Former African champions CARA of Congo Brazzaville, Enyimba of Nigeria and Zamalek of Egypt had mixed fortunes on Wednesday in CAF Confederation Cup last-32 first legs.

CARA, who conquered Africa 44 years ago, trounced newcomers Ben Guerdene of Tunisia 3-0 after making a great start by scoring after only three minutes.

Cabwey Kivutuka got the Brazzaville outfit on the scoreboard, Christ Ngoma Mbo netted midway through the opening half and Racine Loamba sealed victory 11 minutes from time.

CARA qualified for the round of 32 after a preliminary tie against fellow former African champions Asante Kotoko of Ghana in which four of five first-leg penalties were missed.

Enyimba, who won back-to-back CAF Champions League titles in 2003 and 2004, look set for a place in the play-offs round during April after a 2-0 win away to Energie of Benin.

A fifth-minute own-goal by Lanignan Bolarinwa put the home team on the back foot and they fell further behind soon after when Austin Oladepo struck.

Enyimba have been unable to stamp their authority on CAF competitions in recent years, but club officials are confident this year will see a change for the better.

Zamalek have been African champions five times — a record bettered only by Cairo neighbours Al Ahly — but have not lifted a CAF trophy since winning the 2003 Super Cup.

Making only their second appearance in the second-tier Confederation Cup, they lost 2-1 away to Welayta Dicha, an Ethiopian side playing in Africa for the first time this season.

Ethiopian Bezabeh Meleyo and Egyptian Emad Fathy exchanged first-half goals and Yared Dawit scored the winner 12 minutes from time.

Despite the setback, Zamalek look set to emerge overall winners, as do CARA and Enyimba, in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

Another Egyptian club, Al Masry, were also in east Africa and drew 2-2 with Simba of Tanzania in a Dar es Salaam thriller.

Three of the four goals came from penalties with John Bocco and Ugandan Emmanuel Okwi converting spot-kicks for the hosts and Ahmed Shokry for the visitors.

Egypt football legend Hossam Hassan coaches Masry and the Port Said club seem likely to secure a play-offs place for the second successive season.

Few punters would bet against Fosa Juniors of Madagascar also progressing after they built a 2-0 lead away to Port Louis of Mauritius in an Indian Ocean showdown.

Aro Hasina Andrianarimanana netted in each half for the Malagasy outfit, who upset AFC Leopards of Kenya in the preliminary round.

Maniema Union of the Democratic Republic of Congo came from two goals behind to force a 2-2 draw at home to USM Alger of Algeria in 37 degrees celsius (99 fahrenheit) heat.

The other Nigerian challengers, Akwa United, fell 1-0 away to Al Ittihad of Libya with Muad Eisa scoring the lone goal seven minutes from time.

Cape Town City of South Africa were another side to snatch a late 1-0 win, beating Costa do Sol in Mozambique through a Sibusiso Masina goal on 80 minutes.


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