By Duncan Mlanjira
TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) 🇨🇩 were the first club on Saturday to qualifying for the semifinals of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League after beating Simba SC of Tanzania 🇹🇿 on 4-1 aggregate after drawing 0-0 in the first leg in Dar es Salaam.
The Congolese are now set to meet Espérance Tunis of Tunisia 🇹🇳, who beat fellow north African side CS Constantine from Algeria 🇩🇿 3-1 at the Stade Olympique de Rades to progress to the semis on 6-3 aggregate.
Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa 🇿🇦 fell 0-1 to 8-times champions Al Ahly SC 🇪🇬 at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt but they sailed through on 5-1 aggregate after winning 5-0 in the first leg at home.
Sundowns will face Wydad AC from Morocco 🇲🇦, who thrashed Horoya AC from Guinea 🇬🇳 5-0 at the Complexe Sportif Prince Abdullah-Mouray in Rabat to progress on 5-0 aggregate having drawn 0-0 in the first leg.
The first legs of of the semifinals will be played on the weekend of April 27/27 with the second scheduled on March3/4.
In the first quarterfinal, the visitors, Simba FC, were first to score through Emmanuel Okwi but the hosts went on to score four through Kabaso Chongo, Meschack Elia, Tresor Mputu and Jackson Muleka, to stamp their authority as one of the giant African clubs.
Haltime score was 2-1 at the Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi.
At the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Al Ahly needed to score five past Sundowns to face it into penalties but the Egyptians managed just one goal after the South Africans played a tight defensive formula.
In the north African derby between Espérance Tunis 🇹🇳 CS Constantine 🇩🇿, started on 3-2 aggregate score in favor of the Tunisians and they increased the tally with three more goals while the Algerians pulled one back.
At the beginning of the 16 team group stages in January, there were seven clubs from North Africa; two each from Tunisia 🇹🇳 (Esperance Tunis and Club Africain), two from Algeria 🇩🇿 (CS Constantine and JS Saoura), two from Egypt 🇪🇬 (Ismaily SC and Al Ahly SC) and one from Morocco 🇲🇦 (Wydad AC).
Four remained for the semifinals; Al Ahly SC 🇪🇬, Esperance Tunis 🇹🇳, Wydad AC 🇲🇦 and CS Constantine 🇩🇿.
And now there are two; Esperance Tunis 🇹🇳 to face TP Mazembe 🇨🇩 and Wydad AC 🇲🇦 to meet Mamelodi Sundowns 🇿🇦
Those who fell along the way were two from southern Africa — Orlando Pirates 🇿🇦 and FC Platinum from Zimbabwe 🇿🇼.
West Africa had three — Lobi Stars from Nigeria 🇳🇬, ASEC Mimosas from Côte d’Ivoire 🇨🇮 and Horoya AC 🇬🇳.
Central Africa had two — TP Mazembe 🇨🇩 and AS Vita Club 🇨🇩 while East Africa Simba SC 🇹🇿.
The 2018 CAF Champions League champions are Esperance 🇹🇳, who won the title after staging a dramatic second-leg fightback in the final to defeat record eight-time champions Al Ahly 🇪🇬 4-3 on aggregate.
Al Ahly were desperate for a ninth title having consecutively lost in the last two final matches, this time around they have fallen in the semis.