An all Zambian CAF Confederation Group C clash played Sunday 10 March at the Nkana Stadium in Kitwe, saw hosts Nkana FC give their progression hopes for the quarter-finals of the tournament a huge boost and at the same time extinguish those of their opponents Zesco United by sealing a comfortable 3-0 win.
The match saw all five Kenyan internationals, three for Zesco and two for Nkana, feature from the onset in the win that lifted Nkana to top of the group with nine points and left Zesco bottom with four points.
Jesse Were, David Owino and Anthony Akumu started for Zesco while Duncan Otieno and Musa Mohammed did the same for Nkana.
Second half goals from Kelvin Kampamba, Ronald Kampamba and Shadrick Musonda helped Nkana to the match day 5 win that now sees them target a point in their final group game away to Sudanese side Al Hilal to be sure of progression.
Al Hilal are second in the group with eight points and will need a win against Nkana to avoid missing out on the knockout round.
The Sudanese heavyweights on Sunday played to a 1-1 draw away to third in the group, Asante Kotoko of Ghana. Kotoko have seven points and their progression to the next round will hinge on their performance away to Zesco on match day 6 coupled with Al Hilal’s result against Nkana.
A Kotoko win and a Nkana win will see the Ghanaian side through.
In other matches played in the round, Kenyan champions Gor Mahia suffered their third loss of the competition and second in succession as they went down 4-0 away to Egyptian side Zamalek.
Mahmoud Alaa, Yousseff Obama, Ferjani Sassi and Omar El Said grabbed the goals for the five time African champions who avenged their 4-2 loss to the Kenyan side in the opening round of the tournament.
The win lifted Zamalek, who had gone winless in their opening three games, up to first in Group D with eight points while Gor, who before the round sat in second place, drop to bottom with six points.
The other teams in the group, Petro Atletico of Angola and NA Hussein Dey of Algeria, are tied on seven points in second and third place respectively. Petro defeated Hussein Dey 2-0 to boost their chances on Sunday.
Despite the loss in Egypt, Gor’s chances of progression are very much alive and all K’Ogalo need to do is win their final group game against Petro in Nairobi.
A win will lift Hassan Oktay’s men to nine points which will have them assured of qualifying from the group irregardless of the result between Hussein Dey and Zamalek.
In Group A, Moroccan side RSB Berkane sealed their progression with a game to spare after getting the better of Congolese side AS Otôho d’Oyo 3-0. They are the only team from all the four groups to have qualified.
The win lifted them to 11 points, six clear of their opponents who are second in the group with five points, tied with third place Hassania Aggadir of Morocco who battled to a 0-0 draw with defending champions Raja Casablanca in an all Moroccan affair.
Raja, who won last year’s tournament, are bottom of the group with four points and are in danger of elimination. They need to win their last game away to Berkane and hope that AS Otôho d’Oyo and Hassania play to a draw.
The standings in Group B are similar to those of Group C with leaders CS Sfaxien of Tunisia on nine points and Salitas FC of Burkina Faso already eliminated.