Friday’s CAF Champions League matches saw Esperance de Tunis secure quarterfinal qualification, Orlando Pirates mounted a strong comeback, and Ismaily’s roller-coaster ride has ended after they were mathematically eliminated.
The pick of the night games came from Orlando Stadium in Soweto, where Pirates looked to be in major trouble after going two goals down at home to Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum, who netted through Never Tigere and Rainsome Pavari.
Yet the Buccaneers fought back to keep themselves alive in Group B, as they secured a 2-2 draw thanks to late strikes from Thembinkosi Lorch and Augustine Mulenga.
In the same pool, title-holders Esperance have secured a place in the last eight after they defeated Horoya 2-0 in Rades. The visitors’ defender Marius Assoko put a ball into his own net midway through the first half, and the scoring was complete late in the game through Franck Kom.
The meeting of Horoya and Pirates in Conakry next weekend will decide which club joins the Blood and Gold in advancing into the knockout phase.
The early evening games saw Ismaily mathematically eliminated from the competition after they were held 1-1 at home by TP Mazembe. Meschak Elia’s first half goal for the Ravens was cancelled out by Abdelrahman Magdy behind closed doors at the Borg El Arab Stadium.
The DR Congo giants remain second on the group standings, though they are now only a point ahead of Club Africain, who picked up a surprise 1-0 away win over leaders CS Constantine of Algeria. Bassirou Compaore netted the goal which brings the Tunisians back into quarterfinal contention.
Matchday 5 of the Champions League continues with four games on Saturday, 9 March.
CAF Champions League results, Friday 8 March
CS Constantine 0-1 Club Africain
Ismaily 1-1 TP Mazembe
Esperance de Tunis 2-0 Horoya AC
Orlando Pirates 2-2 FC Platinum