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AmaZulu of South Africa made a comeback and Eswatini’s Royal Leopard claimed an overall victory in the CAF Champions League preliminary round second leg this weekend.
Looking towards elimination after a surprise 1-0 first-leg loss at home to Nyasa Big Bullets of Malawi last weekend, Durban-based AmaZulu rediscovered his scoring touch to win 3-1 at the outside and continue.
A 3-2 aggregate victory saw the Champions League debutants face a tough round of 16 clash in October against TP Mazembe, the Democratic Republic of Congo side that have won the competition five times.
Amazulu coach Benni McCarthy, 2004 UEFA Champions League winner as a player with Porto under Jose Mourinho, took his side to Malawi against a dark backdrop.
The shock 2021 South African Premiership finalist at Mamelodi Sundowns, after years of struggling against relegation, had scored just once in five outings across all competitions since the start of the new season.
McCarthy had also been criticized for calling Malawi a “jungle” and said he had “never heard of the Bullets” despite the club having already made six appearances in the African elite competition.
While McCarthy kept a low profile as soon as he set foot in the Central African country, his team made the talk on the Lilongwe pitch.
Recalled, Bongi Ntuli converted a fourth-minute penalty and scored again after 11 minutes to give AmaZulu a two-goal lead on the day and a cumulative advantage.
– Survival of seals –
Rattled Bullets scored three minutes after the start of the second half thanks to Henry Kabichi, but Siphelele Mthembu restored the South African side’s two-goal lead in the second half soon after and sealed survival .
Meanwhile, Leopard lost 2-1 to 2016 semi-finalists Zesco United of Zambia in Ndola, but secured a place in the second and final qualifying round thanks to away goals after going. won 1-0 at home.
Zesco scored first, through Zimbabwe’s Tafadzwa Rusike in the 30th minute, before being shaken by an equalizer from Andy Magagula five minutes later.
Needing to score at least twice to progress, the hosts regained the lead thanks to Zambia international Winston Kalengo four minutes into the second half.
Zesco got a penalty on the hour mark, but Kenyan Jesse was missed and Leopard held on to win the first preliminary round after four failed attempts.
Leopard now faces Angola Esperanca Sagrada, who knocked out Zimbabwe’s Platinum on penalties after 0-0 draws in Luanda and Harare.
Rivers United, who carry Nigeria’s hopes with Akwa United, had to wait 81 minutes before Uche Onwuasonaya scored to make sure they advance at the expense of Tanzanian visitors Young Africans.
It was the only goal of the second leg at Port Harcourt, allowing Rivers to secure a second 1-0 victory over club Dar es Salaam and win over Sudanese Al Hilal in the 32nd round.
© 2021 AFP