Mouloudia hit nine, Zesco seven as Africa giants advance in CAF Champions League

  Johannesburg, Thursday @PeopleSports11

Mouloudia Alger of Algeria scored nine, Zesco United of Zambia seven and Esperance of Tunisia five in CAF Champions League goal sprees Wednesday as they booked last-32 places.

But Difaa el Jadida, whose 10-0 first-leg romp set a competition single-leg record, could not find the net even once and had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Benfica of Guinea-Bissau.

Hichem Nekkache of Mouloudia and Ghana-born Adams Zikiru of Zesco were the individual stars of the preliminary round second legs, slamming four goals each.

The shock of the day came in the sauna-like heat of Sudan where 2015 semi-finalists Al Merrikh were eliminated despite a 2-1 win over traditional underachievers Township Rollers of Botswana.

Other clubs to advance included Plateau United and Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) of Nigeria, Aduana Stars of Ghana, Gor Mahia of Kenya and Wits of South Africa.

Mouloudia turned around a 2-0 first-leg loss to newcomers Otoho in Congo Brazzaville by winning 9-0 after leading by three goals at half-time.

Apart from Nekkache, Walid Derrardja, Mohamed Souibaa, Ibrahim Amada, Abderrahmane Hachoud and Abousoufiane Balegh netted for the Algerian club who won the competition 42 years ago.

The winning margin equalled the second largest in the elite African competition, matching those of Kabwe Warriors of Zambia and Raja Casablanca of Morocco.

MFM, who are bankrolled by a pentecostal church, will face Mouloudia during March for a place in the group stage after edging Real Bamako of Mali 1-0 in Nigeria after drawing 1-1 away.

Having been held 0-0 by JKU in Zanzibar, Zesco took out their frustrations on the Indian Ocean islanders by winning 7-0 to set up a last-32 date with ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast.

The goals of Zikiru in mining city Ndola were supplemented by one each from Lazarous Kambole, Winston Kalengo and Lameck Banda.

How many goals two-time African champions Esperance of Tunisia would win by was the main debate issue before they hosted Concorde of Mauritania, who did well to force a 1-1 first leg draw. -AFP

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