Goal blitz takes Simba to last eight, Wydad bow out, Sundowns win

football02 March 2024 21:54| © AFP
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Peter Shalulile © Backpage Pix

A goal blitz set up Simba of Tanzania to trounce Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana 6-0 on Saturday, seal a CAF Champions League quarterfinals place and eliminate Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

While Simba were running riot, three-time champions Wydad edged table-toppers ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast 1-0 in Marrakesh, but lost out for second place on the head-to-head tie-breaker.

ASEC won Group B with 11 points, Simba and Wydad had nine each and Jwaneng four. The top two finishers advanced to the knockout stage.

There were two last-eight places up for grabs in the final matchday. The other slot was filled by Esperance of Tunisia, who beat Al Hilal of Sudan 1-0 to finish Group C runners-up.

Title-holders Al Ahly of Egypt, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, ASEC, Petro Luanda of Angola and Young Africans of Tanzania had already qualified.

Seeking a fourth quarterfinal place in six seasons, Simba knew a victory over Jwaneng in Dar es Salaam would take them through whatever the Wydad result.

What the Tanzanian club probably did not expect was to virtually achieve their objective just 22 minutes into the match thanks to goals from Saidi Ntibazonkiza, Pa Jobe and Kibu Denis.

Clatous Chama then struck the woodwork three times for the rampant hosts before he found the net on 76 minutes and late goals from Ladaki Chasambi and Fabrice Ngoma completed the rout.


Ntibazonkiza is Burundian, Jobe Gambian, Chama Zambian and Ngoma Congolese, emphasising the multi-national make-up of the Simba starting line-up, which included only three Tanzanians.

Simba face a group winner other than ASEC – meaning Ahly, Petro or Sundowns – over two legs in March and April for a semifinals place.

Wydad failed after eight consecutive appearances in the knockout stage, two of which culminated in final victories.

Montasser Lahtimi scored after 18 minutes for the Moroccan outfit against ASEC in Marrakesh and the winners finished with 10 men after the late red-carding of Badr Gaddarine.

Yassine Meriah scored midway through the first half to earn four-time champions Esperance maximum points against Hilal in Rades and second place, one point behind Petro.

Surprise group winners Petro scored in each half through Honduran Jonathan Toro and substitute Julinho to overcame bottom team Etoile Sahel of Tunisia 2-0 in Luanda.

Sundowns won Group A thanks to a 1-0 victory over Mazembe in Pretoria, where Namibia captain Peter Shalulile converted a 38th-minute penalty after Brazilian Lucas Ribeiro was fouled.

Nouadhibou, the first Mauritanian qualifiers for the group stage, finished a creditable third despite surrendering the lead twice in a 2-2 draw with Pyramids of Egypt in Cairo.