The second leg of the semi-finals is next week, while the winner of November's two-legged final will represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2015 in December.
Al Merreikh 2–1 TP Mazembe
Although Al Merreikh have played in the Champions League 21 times before this year, they had very little to show for their efforts, having advanced to the quarter-finals in 1975 and played in the group stage in 2009. On all other occasions, they failed to progress beyond the second round - at least until this year. An unblemished record at home led the Omdurman-based side to the semi-finals for the first time in their history and even four-time champions TP Mazembe proved no match for the Sudanese club. Coached by former Mazembe coach Diego Garzitto, who won the Champions League with the Congo DR club in 2009, Merreikh pushed forward from the start and should have opened the scoring early. Instead, they had to wait until a few minutes from the break when goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba failed to hold on to a long-range effort and punched the ball to the feet of Ghanaian striker Francis Coffie, who had an easy tap-in. The big-spending visitors drew level with 15 minutes to go, when Thomas Ulimwengu was set up by Roger Assale and the Tanzanian international found the back of the net. Any hopes Mazembe had of returning to Lubumbashi with a draw were quashed shortly afterwards as Bakri Al Medina scored his seventh of the campaign to give the home side a well-earned victory.
The other match
Having lost just once at home in their six matches in the Champions League this season, Al Hilal must have fancied their chances against USM Alger, also in Omdurman. And things got off to a good start for the home side as they took the lead after just three minutes when Mudathir El-Tahir scored following a mistake by one of the USM Alger defenders. Just four minutes later, Hilal had the ball in the back of the net again, but the goal was disallowed. Instead of going two up, Hilal were back on level terms shortly afterwards when striker Mohamed Aoudia, who joined the Algerian club from FSV Frankfurt in mid year, headed home. A heavy downpour in the second half made conditions difficult for both sides, and it was the visitors who found a second as goalkeeper Loic Feudjou could only parry a ball, which fell at the feet of midfielder Karim Baiteche, who made no mistake. Earlier Brazilian Andrezinho should have put Hilal ahead, but he saw his penalty saved. The 2-1 win sees USM with a major advantage ahead of the return leg in Algeria next week.
Player of the week
Going into their first-leg semi-final encounter against TP Mazembe, Al Merreikh had not conceded a single goal at home in the Champions League this season, so the visitors knew that it was always going to be tough to find an important away goal. But they got what they were looking for with 15 minutes to go, when a defence-splitting ball from Côte d'Ivoire international Roger Assale found Thomas Ulimwengu behind his markers. The Tanzanian striker made no mistake to level matters at 1-1 and although Merreikh found a winner a short while later, Ulimwengu's goal could prove decisive in the return leg.
7 – The number of consecutive games that Al Merreikh have won at home in their 45,000-seater Al Merreikh Stadium. Thomas Ulimwengu was the first player to have found the net against them at home this season in a Champions League match, while the Sudanese club have tallied 13. The last club to beat Merreikh at home in the contest was Ugandan team Kampala City Council, who won 2-0 in last year's preliminary round.
What they said
“There will be a return match in a week, but it's a defeat we must accept. Both sides had plenty of chances, but overall for us it was a bad performance from the start,” TP Mazembe coach Patrice Carteron.
Have your say
Can Merreikh or Hilal become the first Sudanese club to win the African title?