CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Al Ahly title defence fails Mamelodi Sundowns test after shock defeat at home

Al Ahly flounders but Mamelodi Sundowns, Petro de Luanda continue unbeaten on Matchday 3 of the CAF Champions League

Pitso Mosimane is yet to pick up his first win with Al Ahly in the Champions League this season after starting late due to their involvement in the Club World Cup

The concluding five matches of the 2021/22 CAF Champions League Matchday 3 fixtures were played on Saturday, February 26.

The shock result of the day was in Group A where defending champions Al Ahly suffered a surprising 1-0 loss at home to South African side Mamelodi Sundowns.

In other fixtures, Esperance and Etoile du Sahel played out a goalless draw in the Tunisian derby with the latter getting a late red card but holding on to secure an away point.

Overall, there were three away victories recorded on Saturday as well as nine goals scored with Zamalek's clash with Wydad Casablanca alone accounting for four of the nine.

Al Ahly were playing at home for the first time on the continent this season but were sucker-punched by 'The Brazilians' who snatched a 1-0 win at the Cairo International Stadium.

Thapelo Morena needed just seven minutes on the pitch to score for Mamelodi Sundowns in the 88th minute despite Al Ahly's dominance before the goal.

The result means Pitso Mosimane's side are yet to win any game in the CAF Champions League this season following last week's draw against Al Hilal.

The Egyptian side could change that soon as they are billed to play their outstanding Matchday 1 fixture against Al Merrikh on Saturday, March 5 while the league takes a two-week hiatus.

In Group C, two of the biggest Tunisian clubs went head-to-head as Esperance hosted Etoile du Sahel at the Rades Olympic Stadium.

Radhi Jaidi and Roger Lemerre pitted wits from the dugouts but could not outsmart each other despite Esperance's home advantage and dominance of the match.

Lemerre's Etoile du Sahel are still waiting on their first win in the Group, though still unbeaten with three draws from all three matches so far.

The other match in Group C saw Jwaneng Galaxy's debut in the CAF Champions League continue in an abysmal state following a 2-1 home loss to Chabab Belouizdad.

Algerian side Belouizdad dominated proceedings all through the match and had numerous opportunities to settle the match earlier but they had to dig deep to find a 93rd-minute winner with all three goals in the fixture coming in the final 13 minutes.

If Jwaneng Galaxy lose the return leg away in Algeria in a fortnight, then the Botswana side would stand almost no chance of making it out of the group with just one point from a possible 12.

Tiago Azulão continues to be decisive for Petro de Luanda as the 33-year-old Brazilian scored for the second game running to secure all three points against their fellow Angolan club Sagrada Esperanca.

Esperanca's push for an equaliser to Azulao's 33rd-minute penalty was made harder when Jorge Carneiro was shown a second yellow card in the 66th minute.

The victory takes Petro de Luanda top of the group with two wins and one draw so far. Both Angolan sides share the Estadio 11 de Novembro but the table-toppers will technically be at home for the return leg.

The weekend's final match was the highest-scoring fixture as Wydad Casablanca put three goals past Zamalek at the Stade Mohamed V on Saturday.

Zamalek took an early lead through Zizo in the 3rd minute but the tide changed with Zouhair El Moutaraji (27') and Amine Farhane (37) ensuring that Wydad go into halftime in the lead.

The Moroccan side now has six points to stay second on the table compared to Zamalek's two points from three matches.

With the 2021/22 CAF Champions League group stages now at the midpoint, the teams will go on a two-week break till Friday, March 11 when the hostilities would resume across all venues again.

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