Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy provided one of the biggest shocks of the 2021-22 TotalEnergies CAF Champions League, beating last season’s quarter finalists Simba SC 3-1 at their backyard in Dar es Salaam on Sunday to book a place in the group stages in their first ever attempt.
Simba had easily won 2-0 away from home last weekend and just needed to finish the job at home, but the Botswana outfit gave a fight for the ages, winning 3-1 and proceeding on the away goal rule.
Meanwhile, 2016 Champions Mamelodi Sundowns, Esperance du Tunis, Guinea’s Horoya AC, Sudan’s Al Hilal, Morocco’s Wydad Club Athletic and the Algerian duo of CR Belouizdad and ES Setif all made it to the group stages of the competition.
Simba 1-3 Jwaneng Galaxy
At the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam, hosts Simba had come in with lost of confidence especially after winning away from home and in a stadium that they seldom lose, they knew they had one foot into the group phase.
And they were well on course after 41 minutes when Rally Bwalya took them into the lead with a rasping left-foot shot after driving into the box.
Coming off the break with a three-goal mountain to climb, Jwaneng began their comeback 42 seconds into the second half when Rudath Wendell equalized with a neat shot inside the box after the Simba backline failed to deal with a cross.
On the hour mark, the visitors were in dreamland when Wendell completed his brace, slapping the ball home unmarked inside the six-yard box from a long throw.
They completed the comeback with four minutes to play, suspect marking inside the box from Simba once again gifting their visitors the third, Gape Mohutsiwa heading home from a cross of the left.
Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 AS Maniema
Meanwhile, at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, Mamelodi Sundowns beat DR Congo’s AS Maniema 2-0 on the afternoon and 4-2 on aggregate to progress to the group phase.
Lyle Lakay and Peter Shalulile scored the goals in either half for Masandawana as they progressed to the group stages for the seventh consecutive time.
Lakay broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when he curled a brilliant freekick beyond the wall.
Sundowns doubled their lead in the 53rd minute when Namibian international Shalulile reacted quickest after the Maniema keeper had spilled a cross from Lakay.
Despite concerted pressure from the visitors, the Brazilians comfortably saw off the scoreline to sail through.
Esperance 1-0 Al Ittihad
In Rades, four-time champions Esperance du Tunis endured tough resistance from Libyan champions Al Ittihad before winning 1-0 and progressing to the group phase. The first leg between the two sides had ended barren.
The hosts got the solitary goal of the match in the 63rd minute through Nassim Ben Khalifa put the ball into the net.
The visitors had however to play the final 14 minutes plus additional time with a man less after Mouad Ellafi was sent off on a straight red card. The numerical superiority worked in Esperance’s advantage as they saw off the slim lead to progress.
Horoya 2-1 Stade Malien
In Conakry, Guinean champions Horoya AC have made it into the group stages after beating Stade Malien 2-1 on the afternoon and 3-1 on aggregate. The Guineans had won by a solitary goal in the first leg in Bamako and completed the job at home.
Dramane Nikiema gave Horoya the lead with a bullet of a strike, hitting a scorching shot from almost 40 yards out.
They however put the game to some distance when Salif Coulibaly scored the second in the 58th minute with a strong header from Baffour Sebe’s corner to stretch the game to 3-0 on aggregate.
Coulibaly however almost turned from hero to villain when he turned the ball into his own net in the 72nd minute, but Stade Malien’s comeback could not run the full length.
Al Hilal 1-0 Rivers United
Sudan’s Al Hilal also booked a slot in the group stages after a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Nigeria’s Rivers United. Hilal go through 2-1 on aggregate with the first leg away from home having ended in a 1-1 draw.
Playing their home matches at the Suez Stadium in Egypt, Hilal went all out to secure their place in the groups and they did so as early as the third minute of the game, Yaser Muzamil scoring the lone goal of the match.
They held on to this vital scoreline all game with the Nigerians dropping to the Confederation Cup.
ES Setif 2-0 FC Nouadhibou
In Algeria, hosts ES Setif overturned a 3-1 deficit they suffered in Mauritania last weekend to beat FC Nouadhibou 2-0 and progress to the group stage on the away goal rule.
The Mauritanian champions had come from a goal down to win 3-1 at home in Nouakchott and were high in confidence that another spirited performance in North Africa would earn them a ticket to the group stage,
However, they could not complete the job as Setif was more determined.
Abderrahim Deghmoum gave them a 1-0 lead at halftime with a thunderous left-footed shot after a poorly defended corner
They had to wait for six minutes from time before securing the qualification through Khalil Darfalou’s goal.
CR Belouizdad 2-0 ASEC Mimosas
It was the same script different cast as fellow Algerians CR Belouizdad also progressed on the away goal rule after winning 2-0 in the second leg at home to overturn a 3-1 deficit from the first leg.
Chouaib Keddad gave the hosts an early third-minute lead, one till they kept till halftime. They upped the tempo in the second half and they sealed their place in the group phase four minutes into the second half when they scored the second through Khaled Bousseliou.
Wydad Club Athletic 6-1 Hearts of Oak
In Casablanca, last season’s semi-finalists Wydad Club Athletic ran riot at home, hitting Ghana’s Hearts of Oak 6-1 to comfortably sail into the group stages with a 6-2 aggregate score. They had lost the first leg by a solitary goal in Accra but were not ready to make the same mistake twice.
At home, Wydad were emphatic from the first whistle.
Tanzanian international Saimon Msuva gave them a fifth-minute lead before Aymane El Hassouni doubled the tally three minutes later with a well-taken freekick.
Within the opening 20 minutes, it was 3-0 and the tie now looked to be going away when Achraf Dari scored the third. Yahya Jabrane converted a penalty in the 36th minute as the home side went to the breather with a healthy four-goal cushion.
In the second half, they added more with Ayoub El Amloud scoring the fifth goal in the 47th minute before Msuva completed his brace in the 61st minute.
The Phobians pulled one back with six minutes left, but it was all for statistics as the damage was all long done.