Three-way tie sets up Champions League thriller

Referee Eric Arnaud Otogo Castine cautions Bemammer Mohammedali of Raja Casablanca during the 2015 CAF Champions League football match between Kaizer Chiefs and Raja Casablanca at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban , Kwa-Zulu Natal on 14 March 2015. Photo: Sabelo Mngoma/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - A three-way tie at the top has set up Group A of the CAF Champions League for a thrilling September climax.

Al Hilal of Sudan, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Moghreb Tetouan of Morocco have eight points each with five of the six matchdays completed.

Hilal lead on goals scored and Mazembe are second on goal difference as the three clubs seek top-two finishes and passports to the semi-finals. 

Four-time title-holders Mazembe host Tetouan and twice runners-up Hilal visit out-of-contention Smouha of Egypt in the final round.

Mudather Al Tahir scored after seven  minutes at the weekend to give Hilal a 1-0 victory over visiting Mazembe in a must-win match for the Omdurman outfit.

Spaniard Jesus Rodriquez Tato and Abdeladin Khadrouf, from a penalty, scored as Tetouan overcame Smouha 2-1 in northern Morocco. 

But Moghreb suffered anxiety during the closing stages after Amr El Monoufy halved the deficit 13 minutes from time. 

Both results were predictable as Hilal are virtually invincible at home with 13 victories and three draws in 18 group games.

Mazembe are the third most successful Champions League club after Al Ahly and Zamalek of Egypt, but they struggle away, winning just five of 24 mini-league matches.

Group debutants Tetouan boast an unbeaten three-game home record and Smouha have lost all three away mini-league matches in the premier African Football Confederation (CAF) club competition.

Group B has been settled with USM Alger sealing first place by whipping fellow Algerians and defending champions Entente Setif 3-0 in Algiers.

Al Merrikh of Sudan, who will advance to the semi-finals as runners-up, came from two goals behind to triumph 3-2 at pointless Mouloudia El Eulma of Algeria.

CAF Champions League winners pocket $1.5 million (1.3 million euros) and secure a place at the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

 

 

AFP

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