Johannesburg, South Africa, Apr 17 –CAF Confederation Cup title-holders TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo forced a 0-0 draw at JS Kabylie of Algeria Sunday to reach the group stage.
Multi-national outfit Mazembe advanced 2-0 on aggregate after winning at home last weekend thanks to goals from Zambian Nathan Sinkala and Malian Salif Coulibaly.
The second leg of a play-off between clubs who have won 16 African titles between them failed to match expectations in northern city Tizi Ouzou.
What little excitement there was came during the second half with Algerians Mohamed Boulaouidet and Mehdi Benaldjia almost breaking the deadlock.
Boulaouidet, whose three goals rescued Kabylie in two qualifying ties, just failed to reach a cross with the goal at his mercy.
Benaldjia rattled the woodwork with a curling shot 15 minutes from time as the hosts desperately sought a breakthrough goal.
Kabylie are the third Algerian victims of Lubumbashi-based Mazembe in the past three African football seasons.
The Congolese club defeated USM Alger in the 2015 CAF Champions League final and overwhelmed Mouloudia Bejaia in the Confederation Cup final last year.
They could face another Algerian outfit in the group stage as Mouloudia Alger are among 15 qualifiers with one second leg still to be played.
South African clubs SuperSport United and Platinum Stars secured group places for the first time in contrasting ways.
SuperSport trounced Barrack Young Controllers of Liberia 5-0 in Pretoria with former New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie scoring a hat-trick.
Controllers, who were held 1-1 at home, fell behind after only three minutes when Thabo Mnyamane netted and Fagrie Lakay was the other SuperSport scorer.
Platinum edged AS Tanda of the Ivory Coast 5-4 on penalties after winning 2-0 in northwestern mining town Rustenburg.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, Stars scored in each half through Namibian Benson Shilongo and Malawian Robert Ng’ambi to force a shootout.
A miserable day for the Ivory Coast was completed by the surprise elimination of former African champions ASEC Mimosas after a 0-0 draw with Gabonese visitors Mounana.
Giant Burkina Faso striker Aristide Bance, who starred at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, posed a constant threat as ASEC tried to overcome a 2-1 first-leg defeat.
But brave defending and a string of saves from goalkeeper Yves Bitseki kept ASEC at bay in Abidjan.
Al Hilal Obeid of Sudan reached the mini-league stage at the first attempt by outplaying Ports Authority of Gambia 3-0 at home after a drawn first leg.
A draw on April 26 in Cairo will create four groups in the African equivalent of the Europa League with the first matches scheduled for May.