Stunning Young Africans book CAF Champions League last-eight slot

Stunning Young Africans book CAF Champions League last-eight slot

© AFP 2022
February 24, 2024 at 9:47 PM
Burkina Faso international Stephane Aziz Ki helped Tanzanian club Young Africans reach the CAF Champions League quarter-finals.
Burkina Faso international Stephane Aziz Ki helped Tanzanian club Young Africans reach the CAF Champions League quarter-finals.. Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
Source: AFP

Tanzanian club Young Africans made a stunning entry to the CAF Champions League quarter-finals for the first time on Saturday by hammering Chabab Belouizdad of Algeria 4-0 in Dar es Salaam.

Needing to defeat the visiting side by at least four goals to squeeze through from Group D on the head-to-head tie-breaker, the east Africans scored three second-half goals to succeed.

It was a multi-national triumph for 'Yanga' with Tanzanian Mudathiri Yahya, Burkinabe Stephane Aziz Ki, Zambian Kennedy Musonda and Ivorian Joseph Gnadou netting.

The most crucial goal came from Gnadou, with six minutes remaining, as it overtook the head-to-head advantage Belouizdad began the match with having won 3-0 in Algeria last November.

Victory for Young Africans also ensured record 11-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt, who beat Medeama in Ghana on Friday, also qualified for the knockout stage.

Ahead of the final round in Group D on March 1, Ahly have nine points, Young Africans eight, Belouizdad five and Medeama four.

Ahly will host Young Africans in a match to decide who tops the final standings while Belouizdad have home advantage over Medeama in a dead rubber.

After decades of underachievement in Africa, Young Africans improved dramatically last season to reach the final of the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup, losing on away goals to USM Alger of Algeria.

Former champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa also secured last-eight places on Saturday.

Resurgent Mazembe

Mazembe defeated Pyramids of Egypt 3-0 in Lubumbashi and Sundowns beat Nouadhibou of Mauritania 2-0 in Nouakchott to take unassailable leads over their Group A rivals with one matchday to come.

ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast and Petro Luanda of Angola have already secured last-eight places, and Simba of Tanzania and Esperance of Tunisia are likely to join them on March 2.

Simba will clinch second place behind ASEC in Group B, and eliminate three-time champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, if they win a home fixture against Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana.

Esperance will progress provided they avoid defeat at home to Al Hilal of Sudan after cruising to a 2-0 victory over lacklustre Etoile Sahel in a surprisingly one-sided Tunisian derby.

Tanzania, whose clubs traditionally make little impact in CAF competitions, are poised to be the only nation with two quarter-finalists, if Simba qualify.

Mazembe are back in the knockout stage after a three-year absence thanks to first-half goals from Joel Beya and Glody Likonza and a third in added time by substitute Patient Mwamba.

Sundowns should have won more convincingly after dominating group debutants Nouadhibou, but were not certain of maximum points until Thembinkosi Lorch doubled the lead in the 91st minute.

Esperance stretched an unbeaten run against arch domestic and African rivals Etoile to 10 matches thanks to goals from Brazilian Yan Sasse and Zakaria el Ayeb.

The El Ayeb goal on 41 minutes was a superb solo effort as he took the ball from his half before beating goalkeeper Ali Jemal with a low shot from outside the area.

© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022