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TP Mazembe reach Champions League group phase

BBC Sport - May 9, 2010
Tout-Puissant Mazembe

Six-times winners Al Ahly of Egypt needed a stoppage time goal to grab the final place in the group stage of the African Champions League.

Shehab Ahmed got the goal which takes them through at the expense of Al Ittihad of Libya.

Elsewhere on Sunday, reigning African Champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo made it through, along with Nigeria's Heartland, Ahly's fellow Egyptian's Ismaili and JS Kabylie of Algeria.

The draw for the group phase will be made on Thursday, with five of the eight teams in the hat coming from North Africa.

Al Ahly went into their game in Cairo 2-0 down from the first leg against Al Ittihad and at half-time their chances of making progress looked slim, with the game tied at 0-0.

But the most successful team in African club football fought back through strikes from Egyptian international Emad Motaeb and Mohamed Fadl in the second half, before Ahmed struck three minutes into time added-on to send them through 3-2 on aggregate.

Ahly are joined in the draw by their compatriots Ismaili, who beat Al Hilal of Sudan 3-1 to go through 4-1 on aggregate.

TP Mazembe's star striker Tresor Mputu Mabi scored twice and Kaluyituka Dioko got the third as the reigning African Champions eased to a 3-0 victory over Djoliba of Mali in Kinshasa.

The DR Congo club move a step closer to defending their title with a 4-0 aggregate win.

Last year's runners-up Heartland of Nigeria were also winners at home, beating South Africa's Supersport United 3-1.

Heartland went ahead in the 39th minute through Emeka Nwanna.

John Owoeri doubled their lead in the 70th minute while Bello Kofarmata made it 3-0 five minutes later.

Brian Umony pulled one back for the visitors with ten minutes to go but it was not enough as last year runners-up Heartland qualified on 4-2 aggregate.

Entente Setif

reached the group phase of the Champions League after holding holding Zanaco of Zambia to a 2-2 draw.

The Algerians advance to the league stage for the first time on a 3-2 aggregate after Saturday's victory.

Makundika Sakala broke the deadlock on 51 minutes but Nabil Hemani levelled for Setif eight minutes later.

Midfielder Lazhar Hadj Aissa put the visitors in the lead 76 minutes but a late header from Zanaco defender Kennedy Nkethani restored parity.

With the Algerians winning the first leg 1-0, it means the reach the group stage for the first time in the history of the club.

Setif coach Noureddine Zekri was overwhlemed by their advance to the group phase insisting it is his biggest achievement.

"I am very, very happy and I can't say how excited I am to have guided the team to the group stage for the first time ever," Zekri said.

"It is a big day for me after staying on the job for just four month."

Zekri says he is confident they can emulate the success they chalked last year when they finished as runners-up in the Confederations Cup.

"We now have chance to see if we can do better than last year and reach the Champions League final and qualify for the first time to the Fifa World Club Cup," he added.

Zanaco will now drop to the second tier of Africa's club competition to fight for a place in the group phase.

Esperance of Tunisia and Dynamos of Zimbabwe also made it to the last-eight, with less stress than Entente, after drawing at Al-Merreikh of Sudan and Gaborone United of Botswana respectively.

Esperance progressed by a 4-1 margin having established a three-goal home advantage, while Dynamos wrapped up the tie with a 4-2 aggregate win.

Merreikh, still recovering from the fatal collapse of crack Nigerian striker Endurancer Idahor during a domestic fixture this year, were offered a glimmer of hope against Esperance on the stroke of half-time.

Congolese defender Janvier Besala Bokungu conceded an own goal for the 1994 champions but Wajdi Bouazzi snuffed out any hope of a dramatic second-leg comeback with a 52nd-minute equaliser and a 1-1 stalemate ensued.

Surprise packets Gaborone had boasted they could wipe out a 4-1 Harare hiding, but they never came close and the clash of southern Africa neighbours finished 1-0.

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