Enyimba of Nigeria brushed aside months of poor finishing to thrash Rayon Sports of Rwanda 5-1 sunday and reach the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals.
The West Africans qualified 5-1 on aggregate and meet Raja Casablanca of Morocco in a blockbuster last-four clash next month between former African champions.
Raja only won 1-0 at home to CARA of Congo Brazzaville, a much narrower victory margin than expected having taken a 2-1 lead into the return match.
Al Masry of Egypt stretched an unbeaten run in the second-tier competition to 12 matches with a 1-0 victory away to USM Alger of Algeria, having won at home by the same score.
In the other semi-final, Masry face V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who grabbed a 1-1 draw at Renaissance Berkane of Morocco for a 4-2 overall triumph.
There will be a new name on the trophy whoever goes all the way as none of the clubs had even reached the knockout stage before.
Raja have been long-time title favourites for the $1.25 million (1.1 mn euros) first prize and the amazing run of Masry suggests they could also make the two-leg final.
Enyimba hosted Rayon in Aba having scored only 11 goals in 11 Confederation Cup matches this season with leading scorers Chinonso Okonkwo and Ibrahim Mustapha managing a meagre two each.
So the 2003 and 2004 African champions could barely have dreamt of scoring five in one match, especially against Rwandan opponents who had not lost away in three group games.
– Sharp deflection –
But it took Stanley Dimgba only 12 minutes to put the Nigerian outfit ahead and after Bonfilscaleb Bimenyimana levelled, Ikouwem Utin gave the hosts a 2-1 half-time lead.
Sunday Adetunji nudged Enyimba further ahead soon after half-time and a Joseph Osadiaye free-kick that took a sharp deflection on the hour sealed the fate of Rayon.
Enyimba were not finished inflicting misery on the Kigali side, though, as Isiaka Oladuntoye made it 5-1 with a goal 10 minutes from time.
When Mouhcine Iajour nodded Raja into the lead after just four minutes in Casablanca, a CARA side that had lost all six previous away CAF matches this year must have feared the worst.
It proved the only goal of the match, however, with 11-goal leading Confederation Cup scorer Mahmoud Benhalib among those who failed to increase the lead before a huge crowd.
Berkane made a perfect start as they sought to overcome a 3-1 first-leg deficit from central Africa when Burkinabe Alain Traore headed them into a sixth-minute lead.
But V Club did not collapse and Fabrice Ngoma side-footed a cross into the net three minutes from time to ensure the Kinshasa outfit would survive.
Palestinian Mahmoud Wadi was the match-winner for Masry in both legs against USM, who fell behind on 34 minutes in Setif and could not translate possession into goals.
Success was particularly sweet for Masry, who are coached by Egyptian legend Hossam Hassan, as they drew five and lost one of six previous away matches in Africa this year.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football