Confed Cup: Sfaxien, Berkane, Saoura, qualify to group stage

Record three-time champions CS Sfaxien of Tunisia, 2020 champions RS Berkane of Morocco, Algeria’s JS Saoura and Zambia’s Zanaco qualified on Sunday to the Group stage of the 2021-22 TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup.

The quartet completed a 14-teams pack in the mini-league stage, with the last two seats to be determined between Al Ittihad (Libya) – Enyimba (Nigeria) and JS Kabylie (Algeria) – Royal Leopards (Eswatini).

In Bechar, Algeria’s JS Saoura produced an amazing comeback to beat Ghana’s Hearts of Oak 4-0 and reach the group stage winning 4-2 on aggregate.

After losing the first leg 2-0 in Accra last weekend, JS Saoura responded in style and took the lead after 21 minutes through Abdeldjalil Saad. Oussama Bellatreche doubled the hosts lead and canceled Hearts of Oak first leg win.

Bellatreche completed his brace three minutes after the break to give Saoura an aggregate lead, before Hamro Aziz put the game to bed two minutes from time.

Meanwhile, in Bamako, Mali’s Binga couldn’t find a similar comeback, as they fell short to beat Zanaco 2-0, leaving the Zambians to reach the group stage winning 3-2 on aggregate.

Taking a 3-0 lead from the first leg, Zanaco kept their hosts at bay till the 80th minute when Youssouf Diallo gave Binga the lead.

The Malians had a penalty three minutes into injury time, and Youssou Coulibaly scored from the spot to reduce the deficit to a single goal. But it was still not enough as Zanaco reached the group stage winning 3-2 on aggregate.

In Sfax, three-time Confederation Cup champions CS Sfaxien needed a lone goal to beat Kenya’s Tusker and reach the group stage winning 1-0 on aggregate.

Aymen Harzi strike from the spot after 35 minutes was all what the Tunisians needed to win the game, as Tusker had Karlos Kirenge sent off for a second booking four minutes into second half stoppage time.

Finally, in Berkane, Morocco’s RS Berkane survived an early scare to reach the group stage, beating Rwanda’s APR 2-1 on the night and in aggregate.

After a goalless first leg draw, Lague Byiringiro gave the visitors a shocking lead on the brink of halftime.

Knowing they need to score twice to qualify, Berkane threw everything in attack, and find the equalizer through Najji Larbi after 67 minutes.

Skipper Mohamed Aziz scored Berkane’s important goal after 76 minutes as the 2020 champions continued their mission towards the group stage. – Cafonline

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