m_Ahly, Coton surrender unbeaten records

Egyptians Al-Ahly and Cameroonians Coton Sport surrendered unbeaten group records this weekend as the CAF Confederation Cup form went haywire.

Ahly lost 1-0 at Zambians Nkana with Billy Mwanza converting an early second-half penalty after Noel Phiri had been felled.

Coton Sport crumbled 4-0 at home to Congolese AC Leopards as Kader Bidimbou scored a hat-trick for the 2012 title-holders.

Ivorians Sewe San Pedro also shredded the form book with an early second-half Essis Aka goal delivering a 1-0 victory at Tunisians Etoile Sahel.

The string of unexpected results means only three point’s separate Group B leaders Ahly from bottom team Etoile.

Ahly have eight points, Nkana seven, Sewe six and Etoile five with the Egyptians and Ivorians enjoying home advantage on the final match day.

Group A is also going down to the wire later this month with at least one of the two semifinals tickets to be punched only after the final group games.

Ivorians ASEC Mimosas host Malians Real Bamako later on Sunday in the remaining second-tier competition fixture with both sides desperate for maximum points.

Coton have 10 points and Leopards eight from five matches and Real four and ASEC two having played one match less.

Winners of a record 18 CAF titles, Ahly made the long journey south to Zambian copper-belt city Kitwe needing one point to seal a semifinals slot.

But after a goalless first half at Nkana Stadium in which both teams had limited scoring chances, the lone goal came five minutes into the second half.

Phiri was fouled by Saad Samir and Mwanza placed his spot-kick into the left corner as goalkeeper SherifEkramy dived in the opposite direction.

Spanish coach Juan Carlos Garrido, who took charge of the Cairo ‘Red Devils’ last month, introduced veteran striker EmadMeteb, WalidSoliman and Burkinabe Moussa Yedan.

Soliman, the match-winner against Sewe two weeks ago on his return from a lengthy injury, came closest to equalising with a shot Nkana cleared off the goal-line.

Teenager Bidimbou became a human wrecking-ball at Stade RoumdeAdja as he broke the deadlock on 54 minutes and completed the rout seven minutes from time.

CesaireGandze struck the second goal past Cameroon 2014 World Cup squad goalkeeper LoicFeudjou after 72 minutes and Bidimbou claimed his second three minutes later.

It was a record home loss for Coton in a CAF competition and a record away victory for Leopards, who defeated Malians Djoliba to lift the Confederation Cup two seasons ago.

Aka scored on 51 minutes at StadeOlympique in Mediterranean resort Sousse to earn Sewe a first Group B win after three consecutive draws and a defeat at Ahly.

The Ivorians have a realistic chance of progressing now as a home win over Nkana would take them though while Ahly need a draw to advance when Etoile visit Egypt.

AFP