African Champions League: AC Leopards draw as Esperance lose

AC Leopards

The African Champions League group stages began with Congo's AC Leopards drawing away to South Africa's Orlando Pirates while Esperance lost in Angola.

The Group A game, at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, ended 0-0 despite plenty of good chances for the home club.

The Pirates missed three close range opportunities and had a Lennox Bacela header cleared off the line in the second half.

The Leopards, from the provincial town of Dolisie continue their remarkable run in continental competition.

Last year they upset the form book to win the African Confederation Cup and kept up their giant killing run in the preliminary rounds of this year's Champions League by eliminating more fancied opposition from Algeria and Nigeria.

Although the South African season kicks off next month, the Pirates were still expected to capitalise on cold conditions - which are alien to their Congolese opponents.

Egyptian giants Al Ahly - the holders - and Zamalek are the other clubs in Group A. Their match has been postponed until Wednesday and will be played behind closed doors in the Red Sea resort of El Gouna. The game was moved from Cairo to minimise security risks.

Group B got off to a dramatic start in Calulo. Angola newcomers Recreativo Libolo scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time through Aguinaldo to stun last year's runners-up Esperance of Tunisia 1-0.

The other Group B match between Coton Sport of Cameroon and Ivory Coast's Sewe Sport was postponed while the Cameroon federation is suspended by Fifa because of political interference in their recent elections.

The top two teams in each group advance to October's semi-finals.

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