Burkinabe club make winning CAF comeback after 48 years

Burkina Faso club ASFB made a winning return to the CAF Champions League after 48 years when they upset Coton Sport of Cameroon 3-1 on Tuesday in a preliminary round first leg.

Coton, the 2008 runners-up and regular African campaigners, started promisingly in southern Burkinabe city Bobo Dioulasso and took a 32nd-minute lead.

However, the home side levelled within three minutes through Sami Hien and second-half goals from Michel Batiebo and Armand Sanou offered ASFB hope of a last-32 place.

The return match is scheduled for northern Cameroonian city Garoua next week with the local club needing to score at least twice if they want to avoid an early exit.

Cameroon once boasted some of the strongest sides in Africa, including three-time champions Canon Yaounde, but last lifted a CAF club trophy 37 years ago.

The exodus to Europe of the best local footballers, often in their teens, has been a major factor in the decline of Cameroonian clubs at international level.

Bantu of Lesotho exceeded expectations by coming from behind to hold 2018 Champions League group qualifiers Township Rollers of Botswana 1-1 in Lobatse.

Rollers, who surprised Al Merrikh of Sudan and Young Africans of Tanzania to reach the last 16 in the previous edition, took a second-half lead at home through Thatayaone Ditlhokwe.

But Bantu equalised within four minutes via Letsiepo Marabe and will advance to the final qualifying round if they can keep Rollers scoreless in Maseru next week.

Another club to perform much better than anticipated were Gamtel of the Gambia, who held CS Constantine to a 0-0 draw in Algeria.

Ittihad Tanger of Morocco would have expected to win by a wider margin than 1-0 at home to Elect-Sport of Chad, a country whose clubs traditionally struggle in CAF competitions.

After a lengthy debate over who would take an Ittihad penalty just before half-time, Omar Arjoune converted the spot-kick for the only goal of the game.

The most convincing winners were twice runners-up Al Hilal of Sudan and debutants Al Nasr of Libya, who built four-goal advantages at home.

Geovane Silva from Brazil, Malian Boubacar Diarra, Idris Mbombo from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudanese Abdellatif Saied netted as Hilal won 4-0 against JKU of Zanzibar.

The first Champions League appearance of Nasr from Benghazi was memorable as they hammered Al Hilal Juba of South Sudan 5-1 in a match moved to Cairo for security reasons.

Source: Confederation Africaine de Football

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