Former champions Al Ahly and Enyimba will have to play catch-up if they are to make the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League after they both lost their second group game out of two, leaving them without a point and at the bottom of their groups. Eight-time champions Al Ahly were stunned at home, while the two-time winners from Nigeria were beaten in South Africa by Sundowns.
Match of the week
Al Ahly 1-2 ASEC Mimosas
Both teams lost their opening fixture and were under pressure to get points on the board. Shockingly, it was the visitors who drew first blood in the 29th minute when Yannick Zakris found the back of the net with a shot from the edge of the area. The home side drew level shortly after the break when ASEC failed to clear from a corner, allowing defender Ahmed Hegazy to score from close range. International goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy then gifted ASEC another goal shortly before the end, when he let a harmless header roll through his hands, giving Armand Niamke the opportunity to score the winner. The goal prompted Ahly coach Martin Jol to slam his keeper. “Ekramy failed to do his job," the Dutchman said. "Goalkeeping is one of the positions that we need to reinforce."
The other Group A game saw the two winners from the first match-day face each other in Morocco, with Wydad Casablanca, who won the competition in 1992, taking on ZESCO United. John Toshack's Wydad side dominated proceedings throughout and took the lead early on through midfielder Walid El Karti. The visitors found themselves two goals down shortly after the break when Kenyan international David Owino scored an own goal. Wydad then held on to the win, to move to six points, while ZESCO remain on three.
In Group B, South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who thought they got their campaign off to a winning start after winning at ES Setif, only to see the result annulled when the Algerians were thrown out of the competition, continued where they left off, beating Nigerian club Enyimba 2-1. The goals for the Brazilians were scored by Colombian Leonardo Castro and Wayne Arendse, while Moses Ojo pulled one back for the visitors. Like Zamalek, Sundowns have three points, while Enyimba who have played a game more than their rivals, have none. Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said he enjoyed the win. “Being patriotic, as a South African, it’s always good to beat a Nigerian team because there is always that talk about Bafana Bafana and the Super Eagles and that South African teams are not being able to beat Nigerian teams. So that talk must stop at this point in time.”
Player of the week
Before the match against Enyimba, Sundowns' Wayne Arendse said that he believed the club had put aside the disappointment of having lost the three points they secured in Algeria. “We are up to the challenge...we have to go for all three points. We need to put pressure on Enyimba,” the international defender said, not knowing at the time that he would play a big role in achieving just that. Not known as a prolific scorer, Arendse found the winner for his side late in the game.
1 – Record champions Al Ahly have had their worst start to the group phase of the competition since 2002, when they lost their opening games against Jeanne d'Arc and Raja Casablanca. They finished bottom of their group that year. The only time that a team started with two defeats and still qualified for the semi-finals was in 2003 when USM Alger were beaten by Angolan club ASA and Esperance in their first two matches but still went through.
What they said
“I apologise to Ahly fans. I won't hide or escape from my responsibility. I appreciate how the fans are sad, but there is still a hope of reaching the semi-final," Al Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy, talking after conceding against ASEC Mimosas.
Have your say
Can Mamelodi Sundowns finally break the South African jinx and become the first club from that country to win the Champions League? Orlando Pirates won the tournament in 1995, when it was still played as a straight knock-out competition known as the African Cup of Champions Clubs.