African Champions League: Mamelodi Sundowns book place in quarter-finals

The African Champions League trophy
African Champions League trophy

South African club Mamelodi Sundowns became the second team to qualify for the African Champions League quarter-finals on Saturday.

They beat Nigerian visitors Lobi Stars 3-0 in their penultimate Group A match.

Holders Esperance were the first club to book a last-eight place, defeating Horoya of Guinea 2-0 on Friday to clinch top spot in Group B.

The other six qualifiers will be known next week after the final round of group fixtures.

Group A

Mamelodi Sundowns could not have wished for a better start against Lobi Stars as Thapelo Morena scored 106 seconds into the first half before a large home crowd.

Themba Zwane and Lebohang Maboe then scored within a minute close to half-time, leaving the former champions with a three-goal half-time advantage.

Sundowns coasted through the second half, knowing that maximum points would guarantee a top-two finish in Group A and a quarter-final place.

Wydad Casablanca had hoped to join Sundowns in the last-eight by winning in Ivory Coast against ASEC Mimosas, a side they trounced 5-2 in their opening Group A match two months ago.

But Wydad came unstuck in Abidjan as Amed Toure netted twice to earn ASEC a 2-0 win and keep alive their own hopes of a last-eight place.

African Champions League Group APoints after 5 matches
Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)10 (Qualified)
Wydad Casablanca (Morocco)7
ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)7
Lobi Stars (Nigeria)4

Should Wydad beat Sundowns in Morocco and ASEC defeat Lobi in Nigeria, there will be a three-way tie on 10 points, but the South Africans are sure of a top-two finish on head-to-head records.

Whatever the outcome, two former champions will advance. Wydad won the premier African club competition in 1992 and 2017, Sundowns in 2016 and ASEC in 1998.

Group D

JS Saoura, an Algerian club competing in the African Champions League group phase for the first time, rose from last to first in Group D by overcoming Simba SC of Tanzania 2-0 in Bechar.

Sid Ali Yahia-Cherif scored his third goal of the campaign to put the local side ahead 18 minutes into the match.

Mohamed El Amine Hammia doubled the lead six minutes into the second half and there was no way back for Simba, who won the first match between the clubs 3-0 in Dar es Salaam.

African Champions League Group DPoints after 5 matches
JS Saoura (Algeria)8
Al Ahly (Egypt)7
AS Vita Club (DR Congo)7
Simba SC (Tanzania)6

In the final round, Simba have home advantage over Simba and Saoura face the daunting task of playing record eight-times African champions Al Ahly of Egypt away.

Ahly's hopes of sealing a quarter-final place with a match to spare were dashed when a late goal from Congolese teenager Tuisila Kisinda gave AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo a 1-0 victory in Kinshasa.

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