JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 12 – Congolese duo Fabrice Ngoma and Ben Malango scored as Raja Casablanca of Morocco crushed Pyramids of Egypt 3-0 in Cairo Sunday to become the first qualifiers for the CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals.
They struck in the opening half and Moroccan star Soufiane Rahimi completed the rout with 13 minutes remaining of the highly anticipated north African showdown.
Pyramids had hoped to avenge a two-goal defeat at Raja last weekend, but the only consolation after the hiding is that they are still favoured to reach the last eight as Group D runners-up.
Raja have a maximum 12 points from four matchdays, Pyramids and Nkana of Zambia six each and eliminated Namungo of Tanzania none.
Another Congolese, Freddy Tshimenga, scored on 71 minutes in Ndola to earn Nkana a tougher-than-expected 1-0 win over Namungo.
Which clubs will progress from the other three groups is less obvious with Coton Sport of Cameroon the only table-toppers going into the fourth round who won.
Coton trounced NAPSA Stars of Zambia 5-1, but Enyimba of Nigeria crumbled 3-0 at Entente Setif of Algeria and CS Sfaxien had to come from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with Etoile Sahel in a Tunisian derby.
Leading scorer Lambert Araina triggered the Coton goal rush and they were five ahead before Doisy Soko got a stoppage-time consolation for NAPSA.
Coton top Group B with nine points, JS Kabylie of Algeria have six, title-holders Renaissance Berkane of Morocco five and NAPSA one.
– Enyimba flop again –
Berkane held Kabylie in Algeria and should make the knockout stage if they win away to NAPSA and at home to Coton later this month.
Enyimba once again flopped outside Nigeria, losing a fourth consecutive CAF match to be replaced as Group A leaders by Orlando Pirates of South Africa, who walloped Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya 3-0 in Soweto.
After collecting just one point from a possible nine in the first three rounds, it was win or bust for former African champions Setif and they surged into a two-goal lead by half-time.
Amir Karaoui and Mohamed Amoura scored and Akram Djahnit converted a penalty after half-time to complete an impressive victory which did not lift them off the bottom, however.
Pirates were equally ruthless with Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Tshegofatso Mabasa and Kabelo Dlamini scoring as they maintained an unbeaten run in the section.
The South Africans, who were runners-up in the 2015 Confederation Cup, lead with eight points, Enyimba have six and Benghazi and Setif four each.
Ayman Sfaxi scored, was yellow-carded and created a goal for Wajdi Kechrida as Etoile built a two-goal half-time advantage in a top-of-the-table Group C clash in Sfax.
Azmi Ghouma halved the deficit on 69 minutes and Firas Chaouat held his nerve to convert a stoppage-time penalty and rescue a point for record three-time Confederation Cup winners Sfaxien.