Ugandan champions Vipers SC provided a stunning performance in Lubumbashi, edging out home side and five-time African Champions TP Mazmebe 4-2 on post-match penalties to progress to the group stages of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League for the first time ever.
Vipers held The Ravens to a goalless draw at their backyard, the same scoreline they had in the first leg to force the game to penalties.
The Ugandan champions were spot on from 12 yards out converting all four of their attempts while the home side missed two. They had a poor start, Tandi Mwape skying his first penalty before Bright Anukani scored.
Ernest Luzolo then converted for the home side to tie the scores, but Dissan Galiwango responded to ensure Vipers remained in the lead. The Ugandans were handed an advantage when Glody Likonza placed his penalty wide and Ashraf Mandela scored to take Vipers 3-1 up.
Issama Mpeko revived hopes for Mazembe and they now depended on their goalkeeper to keep them in the game. However, Olivier Osomba stepped up to score against a team from the country of his birth and send Vipers into the group phase.
Meanwhile, record champions AL Ahly also eased into the groups with a well worked 3-0 victory at home against Tunisia’s US Monastir, progressing with a 4-0 aggregate score.
Hamdi Fathi scored a goal either side of halftime, adding on to Ahmed Abdelkader’s opener as the \Red Devils \proved their mettle at home to earn a routine place in the group phase.
Tunisian giants Esperance also progressed though with a nervy performance, edging out Nigeria’s Plateau United on the away goal rule. They won 1-0 at home via an Ali Ben Romdhane penalty seven minutes to time, to tie the scores 2-2 on aggregate, having lost the first leg 2-1.
Raja Club Athletic also progressed after edging out Nigeria’s Nigelec 3-0 on aggregate following a 1-0 return fixture victory in Casablanca.
At the same time, Sudan’s Al Merrikh also squeezed in to the group phase on the away goal rule, despite losing 3-1 away to Libya’s Ahli Tripoli.
They had won 2-0 in the first leg in Omdurman last weekend, and the single away goal scored by Ramadan Agab from the penalty spot after 12 minutes proved to be the most important.
Mohamed El Munir, Al Qulaib and Abou Arquob scored for the home side, but they couldn’t complete the comeback with a vital fourth goal.
In the other match, Algeria’s JS Kabylie also earned a place in the group phase with a 3-2 aggregate score against Togo’s AS Kara. They had won the first leg 2-1 and despite being held to a 1-1 draw at home, they had done enough to earn their place.
The first qualified teams:
Vipers SC (uganda), Al Ahly SC (Egypt), Raja CA (Morocco), Al Merrikh (Sudan), JS Kabylie (Algeria), Esperance Tunis (Tunisia), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Petro Luanda (Angola), Zamalek (Egypt), CR Belouizdad (Algeria)
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