Johannesburg - Nigerians Kano Pillars bowed out of the 2015
CAF Champions League qualifiers on Saturday despite a 2-1 home victory over
Moroccans Moghreb Tetouan.
A four-goal first-leg deficit proved too heavy a burden for
the northern team and they were eliminated from the premier African club
competition 5-2 on aggregate.
Claims by Kano stars that they would stage a miracle
recovery at the Sani Abacha Stadium were nullified after 33 minutes when
Mouhsine Iajour put Tetouan ahead with his fourth goal of the tie.
It left the Nigerian champions needing six goals in 57
minutes -- an average of one every nine minutes -- to win the last-32 tie.
But the best they could manage was two goals courtesy of
Tony Edjomareigwe just past the hour and a Rabiu Ali match-winner one minute
This was the third consecutive early Champions League exit
by Kano after a 2013 first-round defeat against AC Leopards of Congo and a
preliminary-round loss to V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.
Their best showing in the competition came six years ago
when they lost to fellow Nigerians Heartland in the semi-finals.
Concerned about Boko Haram-triggered violence in north-east
Nigeria, the Moroccan club flew to the most populous African country in a jet
provided by King Mohammed VI.
Tetouan, who scraped past Malians CO Bamako in the
preliminary round, meet record Egypt's eight-time African champions Al-Ahly in
the final qualifying round for the group stage.
Momen Zakaria scored in each half to give Ahly a 2-0 victory
over Rwandan military outfit APR in a spectator-less Cairo stadium.
Authorities have barred spectators after at least 20
football fans were killed last month during a stampede following clashes with
security forces in the Egyptian capital.
Ahly took a two-goal lead into the return match and any hope
of an APR comeback was dashed on the half hour when recent signing Zakaria put
the Red Devils in front via a header.
He struck again just after half-time, tapping in a rebound
after a Saad Samir header had been blocked.
Former CAF club title winners Stade Malien of Mali and
El-Merrikh of Sudan also progressed.
Stade came from behind to win 2-1 against Gabonese visitors
Mangasport in Bamako and complete a surprisingly comfortable 5-2 overall
Merrikh fell 2-1 away to Angolans Kabuscorp, but the
76th-minute goal from Bakri Al-Madina in Luanda proved decisive as it gave his
club a 3-2 aggregate victory.
Defending champions Entente Setif and fellow Algerians USM
Alger qualified Friday and 10 more second-leg fixtures are scheduled for
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