Egyptian giants Zamalek earned a 2-0 win away to Mouloudia Alger on Saturday night to keep alive their hopes of reaching the African Champions League quarter-finals as holders Al Ahly and Simba both qualified.
In their penultimate match of Group D, Zamalek – who needed to get their first victory in the group to stay in contention – beat MC Alger of Algeria with first-half goals from Youssef ‘Obama’ Ibrahim and Shikabala in Algiers.
In the same group, already-qualified Esperance of Tunisia surprisingly fell 2-1 to Teungueth of Senegal with Baye Diop scoring the 72nd-minute winner in Thies.
Zamalek, runners-up to Ahly last season, will squeeze into the last eight if they win at home to Teungueth next Saturday and Mouloudia lose away to Esperance.
Earlier in the day, defending champions Al Ahly needed an injury-time equaliser against Al Merreikh in Sudan in Group A to advance, salvaging a 2-2 draw thanks to a goal from Yasser Ibrahim.
Ahly had gone 2-0 down early on through first half strikes from Ramadan Agab and Saifeldin Bakhit and looked to be heading towards another defeat.
But the Egyptians fought back. Bard Banoun converted a penalty 10 minutes from time with Ibrahim earning the all important point just before the final whistle.
Ahly are second in the group on eight points with one group game left to play – five points adrift of Group A winners Simba SC of Tanzania who secured their place in the quarter-finals with a resounding 4-1 win over DR Congo’s AS Vita Club.
10,000 fans were allowed into Simba’s stadium in Dar es Salaam and the home side did not disappoint.
Mozambican forward Luis Miquissone carried on his good form by opening the scoring after 30 minutes to put Simba ahead.
Zemanga Soze equalised for Vita Club but Simba took control through a Cletus Chama brace and a goal from Larry Bwalya.
Vita Club’s defeat ends a miserable weekend in the Champions League for clubs from DR Congo after TP Mazembe were also eliminated on Friday.
There was drama in Group C as South Africa’s Kazier Chiefs edged an under-strength Wydad Casablanca of Morocco 1-0 at home, despite having two men sent off.
Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi was sent off after 40 minutes and Serb forward Samir Nurkovic was dismissed one minute from time.
Chiefs got their win through a 48th-minute header from Bernard Parker against Wydad who have already qualified.
But both Akpeyi and Nurkovic will be suspended for their crucial final group game against Guinea’s Horoya who beat Petro Atletico 1-0 in Angola.
The top two teams in each of the four groups qualify for the quarter-finals.