African Champions League: Holders Esperance held at home by Vita Club

Caf Champions League trophy
African Champions League trophy

Holders Esperance of Tunisia were held 0-0 by AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday as the third round of group games in this season's African Champions League got underway.

Esperance failed to find the net despite scoring six goals in the Fifa Club World Cup 10 days ago.

The result in Rades was unexpected as Esperance had also won their previous two Group D matches while Vita Club had lost twice.

Esperance are chasing a record third consecutive Champions League title this season after victories over Al Ahly of Egypt and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the last two finals.

While Esperance could not turn dominance into goals , second-placed Raja Casablanca of Morocco closed the gap to one point in Group D with a 2-0 home win over JS Kabylie of Algeria.

Esperance have seven points, Raja six, Kabylie three and Vita Club one halfway through the six-round group phase with the top two finishers qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Backed by a passionate crowd in Casablanca, Raja scored twice within three minutes early in the second half.

Soufiane Rahimi created the first goal for DR Congo-born Ben Malango and scored the second himself as three-time champions Raja took control.

It was the third goal for Rahimi in the Champions League this season and the first for Malango, who is in his maiden season with the Moroccan club after moving from Mazembe.

Outclassed at home by Esperance in the first group match, Raja have recovered impressively with an away win over Vita Club before Friday's victory over twice champions Kabylie.

TP Mazembe of DR Congo were another club to surrender a 100 percent group record this season after drawing 1-1 away to Primeiro de Agosto of Angola at the in Luanda.

However, the Lubumbashi-based club, remain top of Group A with seven points while Zamalek of Egypt have three, Primeiro two and Zesco United of Zambia one.

Zesco host five-time champions Zamalek on Saturday in Ndola and need maximum points to retain a realistic chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Former Zambia winger Rainford Kalaba put Mazembe in front on eight minutes by heading a cross past goalkeeper Tony Cabaca.

Cristovao Mabululu levelled four minutes later, smashing a loose ball into the net after Ivory Coast-born Mazembe goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo parried a powerful header.

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