Champions League holders Wydad open group campaign with draw at Sundowns
African Champions League title-holders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco survived a late siege by Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in Pretoria on Saturday to force a 1-1 draw in their opening match of Group C.
Sundowns made a perfect start to the fixture by going ahead within three minutes..
Ivorian Cheick Comara turned a Sibusiso Vilakazi cross into his net, although the goal was awarded only after the Cameroon referee overruled his assistant who had signalled a corner.
Wydad responded on 20 minutes when Ismail el Haddad darted forward to nod a cross past Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
El Haddad's goal came as several Sundowns defenders stood still, believing the ball had crossed the line before being floated into the goalmouth.
Rattled by the goal, Sundowns were lucky not to fall behind soon after when Wydad captain Brahim Nakach surged into the box only to blaze wide.
The second half failed to live up to the first 45 minutes as Wydad lost energy and wasted time whenever possible.
A furious Mamelodi Sundowns coach, Pitso Mosimane, felt this was a match they should have won.
"I'm very disappointed with the result. I'm not disappointed with the game, I'm disappointed with the result because there was no reason we should not win this game. Definitely no reason not to win this game!" said Mosimane.
"It's a Champions League match and we have to seize the opportunity.
"We cannot say 'we've taken a point off the champions of Africa' and be happy. What about the champions of Africa?
"The game is played on the pitch. We should have won this game, there is no excuse not to have won the game," Mosimane added.
The draw completed an eventful day for Sundowns after news leaked that they will face Spanish giants Barcelona on 16 May.
They also signed Guinea-Bissau striker Toni Silva who was on the books of Benfica, Chelsea and Liverpool as a youth and moves to South Africa from Greek outfit Levadiakos.
In the other Group C match, Horoya of Guinea kept a 100 percent away record in the competition this season by edging Port of Togo 2-1 in Lome with captain Aboubacar Camara scoring the winner.
TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo made an impressive start in Group B by whipping fellow former African champions Entente Setif of Algeria 4-1 in Lubumbashi.
The pick of the goals was the opener on 10 minutes as quick, slick passing created gaps in the Setif defence and Ben Malango fired a cross into the net from close range.
Malango bagged a brace and Elia Meschak and Zambian Nathan Sinkala also scored for Mazembe.
Group D favourites Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia came from behind to hold Primeiro Agosto of Angola 1-1 in Luanda.
Lompala Bokamba struck the ball into the corner of the net from just outside the box on 43 minutes and Ammar Jemal headed the equaliser midway through the second half after a free-kick.
In the same section, Mongaliso Shongwe scored on 80 minutes to earn Mbabane Swallows of Swaziland a 1-1 draw away to 2016 Champions League semi-finalists Zesco United of Zambia in Ndola.