Caf Champions League: Past champions get off to winning start. By Cypher Drizzle

The group stage of the Caf Champions League kicked off last weekend, with a bunch of former champions including holders Esperance, five times champions TP Mazembe, JS Kabylie, Etoile and Mamelodi Sundowns recording precious victories.

Action continues this weekend with with matches scheduled on Friday and Saturday.

Group A
DR Congo giants TP Mazembe proved too strong for fellow former champions Zamalek of Egypt, prevailing 3-0 at the TP Mazembe stadium in Lubumbashi. Mulota Kabangu came from the bench to produce a “Man of the Match” performance, setting all three goals for “Les Corbeaux”.

Jackson Muleka headed twice past Zamalek goalkeeper Mohamed Awwad (60, 84), while veteran Tresor Mputu cemented his place as All-time CAF interclub top scorer, netting in between (66).

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In Luanda, Zambia’s Zesco United held Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto to a 1-1 draw, with both goals coming in the first 16 minutes. Agostino Cristovao Mabululu gave the hosts the lead after nine minutes, only for Clement Mwape to equalise for the Zambian Electricity Boys seven minutes later.

Group B
Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel emerged victorious from “The Battle of Red Devils”, defeating Egyptian rivals Al Ahly 1-0 at Rades. Veteran Yacine Chikhaoui scored the lone goal five minutes into the second half, as Etoile made use of their numerical advantage. Al Ahly played for almost 80 miutes with a man less after defender Ayman Ahsraf received his marching orders in the 13th minute.

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In Omdurman, Mohamed Eldai scored a brace (26, 70) for Sudanese ginats Al Hilal as they defeated visitors Platinum of Zimbabawe 2-1. A late goal from Never Tigere eight minutes from time proved just a consolation for the Zimbabweans.

Group C
Former champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa started their mini league campaign in style, with a home 3-0 victory over Angola’s Petro de Luanda in Pretoria. Mauricio Affonso (7), Motjeka Madisha (29) and Sphelele Mkhulise (76) scored for “The Brazilians” who prevailed from the first whistle till the very end.

Two times champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco scored in the very last minute to salvage a point in Blida. Algerian hosts USM Alger led through Abdelkrim Zouari 5th minute goal till the penultimate minute when Badie Aouk equalized for the visitors.

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Group D
Holders Esperance kicked off their campaign with an emphatic away victory over Moroccan giants Raja in Casablanca. The Tunisians who claimed the last two titles scored twice in the first quarter hour through Anice Badri (8) and Ibrahim Ouattara (15) to start their title defence campaign in grand style.

Meanwhile in Tizi Ouzou, Algeria’s JS Kabylie celebrated their return to the group stage after almost ten years away with a hard fought victory over DR Congo’s AS Vita. Toufik Addadi scored after 66 minutes to hand “The Canary” their first mini league victory since 2010

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