Asec, InterClube reach Confederation Cup group stage

JS Kabylie
JS Kabylie are former African champions

Ivorian side Asec Mimomas and InterClube of Angola are among the four clubs who reached the group phase of the Confederation Cup on Saturday.

InterClube lost a two-goal lead at Difaa el-Jadida of Morocco but managed a 2-2 draw that helped to advance.

Former African champions Asec drew 1-1 away to Angolan side Primeiro to progress 5-1 on aggregate.

Moghreb Fes of Morocco also reached the group phase thanks to their 2-0 win over Zesco United of Zambia.

InterClube lost a two-goal lead provided by two early second half strikes from Antonio 'Paty' Justo at Difaa el-Jadida of Morocco, but the 2-2 draw saw them safely through 5-2 on aggregate.

The Angolans, who came closest to African glory when finishing runners-up to Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa in the 2001 Cup Winners Cup, travelled to Atlantic city Jadida with a 3-0 advantage from the first leg two weeks ago.

But the policemen had every reason to be wary as two of those goals came in the last four minutes and the Moroccans had won 3-0 at home in the previous two rounds.

An away goal was crucial for the Angolans as it would leave Jadida needing five to survive and midfielder 'Paty' provided it five minutes after half-time before adding a second soon after.

Rafik Abdessamad pulled one goal back midway through the second half and Abderrazak Bentiri salvaged a draw for the Moroccans with a goal 60 seconds from full-time.

Military outfit Primeiro, who had home advantage over former African champions Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast, could only draw 1-1 after failing to convert a penalty and made a timid departure.

A four-goal drubbing in Abidjan left Primeiro on the brink of elimination and they were pushed over the edge 14 minutes into the return match when Adama Bakayoko nudged a young and talented Asec side ahead.

Ghana-born goalkeeper Daniel Yeboah saved an early second half penalty conceded by the Ivorians, but could not prevent Amancio 'Amaro' Costa equalising with 10 minutes left.

Zesco found no joy in North Africa for the second consecutive month, losing 2-0 at Moghreb Fes of Morocco after making the long journey to the north-west corner of Africa with a one-goal advantage.

The Zambians bid the Champions League farewell during May after a narrow loss to Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in Cairo and would have been realistically hopeful of success against less intimidating Moghreb.

However, a Hamza Abourazzouk first half brace edged Fes ahead on aggregate and they contained the Zambians to become the sole Moroccans qualifiers after the exits of title holders FUS Rabat in the previous round and Jadida.

JS Kabylie of Algeria, previous winners of the African Champions League and the defunct African Cup Winners Cup and CAF Cup, left it late to defeat Diaraf of Senegal 2-0 in Tizi-Ouzou and secure a last-eight slot after drawing away.

They became the first to reach the group phase of the Confederation Cup after a 2-0 win ASC Diaraf of Senegal on Friday in Tizi Ouzou.

Defender Chemseddine Nessakh and midfielder Saad Tedjar struck to secure a 3-1 aggregate victory for the Algerian giants.

JS Kabylie were African champions in 1981 and 1990.

Despite the scoreline, the North African side did not have it all their own way.

They enjoyed the lion's share of possession but could not breach the visitors' defence until the closing stages of the match.