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Soufiane Rahimi in a training session before their match against Nkana

Football

Rahimi scores as Raja end Nkana’s 64-match unbeaten home record

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Mar 18 – Nkana of Zambia surrendered a 64-match unbeaten home record in CAF competitions since debuting 38 years ago after a 2-0 Confederation Cup loss to Raja Casablanca of Morocco on Wednesday.

Star Soufiane Rahimi converted a 47th-minute penalty for the visitors in Ndola and substitute Noah Sadaoui added a second goal with three minutes of regular time remaining.

Rahimi picked up the most valuable player and leading scorer awards when Morocco won the African Nations Championship for home-based footballers in Cameroon last month.

Ahead of the Group D matchday 2 fixture, Nkana had won 45 home matches and drawn 19 in the Champions League, African Cup Winners Cup, CAF Cup and Confederation Cup, scoring 137 goals and conceding 38.

It was the second long unbeaten CAF home record to fall this month with TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic beaten for the first time in 75 matches.

Nkana coach Kelvin Kaindu had slammed his defence after a three-goal loss to Pyramids in Egypt seven days ago and was fearful of the damage star-studded Raja might inflict.

His concerns proved valid as the Moroccans cast aside poor recent CAF form to win comfortably and share first place with Pyramids, leaving Namungo of Tanzania and Nkana pointless.

Ramadan Sobhy and substitute Omar Gaber scored in the second half as Pyramids defeated Namungo 2-0 in Dar es Salaam.

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Pyramids, who lost to Renaissance Berkane of Morocco in the 2020 Confederation Cup final, are the only team with a perfect record in the African equivalent of the Europa League this season having won six matches.

– Pirates snatch victory –

Orlando Pirates replaced Enyimba as leaders of Group A — the toughest of the four sections — with a late Tshegofatso Mabasa goal giving the South Africans a 2-1 victory over the Nigerians in Soweto.

Mabasa missed a penalty earlier in the second half after Deon Hotto gave Pirates the lead on 27 minutes and Enyimba captain Austin Oladapo levelled from a spot-kick just before half-time.

In the same group, Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya overcame having to play in Cairo for security reasons and losing Abdallah Imhamed to a red card on 76 minutes to win 1-0 against Entente Setif of Algeria.

The only goal of the north African showdown came in the third minute when Jibreel Alwadawi beat goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia.

Berkane lost for the first time in defence of the title, going down 2-0 away to Coton Sport of Cameroon in Group B in northwestern city Garoua.

In the second half, Souaibou Marou scored his second goal of the campaign and Sibiri Sanou his first to take Coton to second, one point behind six-time CAF title winners JS Kabylie of Algeria.

Massinissa Nezla equalised in the 90th minute as Kabylie came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with NAPSA Stars of Zambia in Lusaka.

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Jimmy Mukeya and Doisy Soko netted for NAPSA before teammate Amos Simwanza conceded an own-goal to bring the visitors back into the game.

Tunisian clubs had mixed Group C luck in west Africa with CS Sfaxien drawing 1-1 against Jaraaf in Senegal and Etoile Sahel falling 1-0 to Salitas in Burkina Faso.

Olivier Boissy was the Salitas match-winner with his fifth goal of the campaign and Mamadou Sylla rescued a point for Jaraaf by scoring in stoppage time.

The remaining four matchdays are scheduled for April and group winners and runners-up qualify for the quarter-finals.

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