New leader in Tunisia, drama in Ghana
The Ghanaian ‘classico’ did not disappoint as Asante Kotoko beat Hearts of Oak 2-1, while in Tunisia, African champions Esperance went top of the table at the halfway point. Elsewhere, Nigeria has a log-jam at the pinnacle, but in Angola, Petro Atletico lead narrowly after an unbeaten start. FIFA.com takes you on a tour of all the weekend club action on the African continent.
Ghana Premier League: Kotoko triumph
The relentless march of Asante Kotoko to the title continued with a dramatic 2-1 win over rivals Hearts of Oak that means the Porcupines are now 12 points clear with six rounds to play. AshantiGold moved into second after a 1-1 draw with Tema Youth, but have only a precarious lead over Berekum Chelsea and Hearts.
Big game: Two goals in the last minute ensured a rousing finale to a match Kumasi had been expecting all week. Kotoko led at the half and looked to be in the driving seat when Hearts had former international Laryea Kingston sent off early in the second half. But despite the disadvantage, Hearts equalised on the stroke of full-time through a snapped effort from Mahatma Otoo. But Kotoko came back to snatch the win with an equally spectacular 25-metre shot by Michael Akuffu.
Headline-grabbers: AshantiGold continued their quiet progress up the standings as they extended their unbeaten run to nine games. But after seven successive wins they have now drawn two games on the trot, the latest at Tema Youth who were ahead through Isaac Amoah’s 42nd-minute goal. The Miners equalised through Yakubu Mohamed five minutes into the second half before he was sent off.
Tunisia Ligue 1: Bizertin lose, Esperance pounce
CA Bizertin suffered their first defeat of the league season, surprisingly beaten at home by AS Marsa, who are now just one point behind them in third place. The loss by CAB allowed Esperance to open up a four-point gap at the top as they seek a successful defence of their title.
Big game: Esperance are top at the halfway point of the season after winning a derby 2-1 at the Stade El Menzah over Stade Tunisien. These days the rivalry is a little one-sided, but it was no walk in the park for the Sang et Or (Blood and Gold). Stade came back strongly in the second half and pulled a goal back through Mohamed Ben Ammar on the hour mark after Esperance had led 2-0 at the break through goals from Youssef Msakni and club captain Khalil Chemmam.
Headline-grabbers: Nabil Missaoui and Ivorian import Didier Libere silenced the home crowd in the north of the country as Marsa took a quick, and ultimately decisive lead, against CA Bizertin. They scored in quick succession to go two ahead after just 20 minutes. The only consolation for the home side came right near the end when Yassine Salhi scored with an innocuous shot that was deflected into his own net by Mohamed Touati.
Nigeria Premier League: Champions in the chase
There were just three league matches at the weekend, but one served to propel defending champions Dolphin FC to the top and within one game of ending the midway point of the season in top place. They beat bottom side Ocean Boys 3-0 in a catch-up game to go level on top with Kano Pillars and Enugu Rangers who had the weekend off. Dolphin still have one more match in hand and a result away in midweek will see them in command.
Big game: A handball after just 30 seconds allowed Dolphin a dream start in Port Harcourt as Emma Nwachi scored from the penalty spot and they were 2-0 up five minutes before half-time after a rasping shot from Chidi Osuchukwu. A late goal from Owusu Addae ensured a handsome win for the home side.
Headline-grabbers: Dolphins coach Stanley Eguma has set his side the target of starting the second half of the season in top place, which will require the minimum of a draw away in Bauchi against Wikki Tourists on Wednesday. “We stand a good chance of getting the result,” he told reporters after the weekend win. A good position domestically make up for the disappointment of their narrow elimination last weekend from the CAF Champions League.
Angola GiraBola: Unbeaten start for champions
Petro Atletico and defending champions Recreativo Libolo remain the only unbeaten sides as the GiraBola begins to get into its stride. Petro won 2-0 away at struggling Academica Soyo to move top on 17 points, one more than Libolo, who scored a morale-boosting win away over Primeiro Agosto in Luanda.
Big game: Defender Edy provided the goal that handed Libolo victory at the Estadio 11 de Novembro, on the outskirts of the capital, scoring at a crucial juncture just a minute before the break. Libolo, who have a match in hand on Petro, might have already been in the lead by then, having squandered a chance inside the first 30 seconds through Aguinaldo, who had the goalkeeper beaten but missed the target.
Headline-grabbers: Kembwa and Job scored in the first half for Petro Atletico as they won easily in Zaire province against their outgunned hosts. “They were a junior side who put on a good exhibition, but it was important for us to win and the result is very satisfying,” said the Petro coach Miroslav Maksimovic afterwards.
Black Africa won the league title in Namibia for a second year in a row with four matches left to play after beating Orlando Pirates in Windhoek. There was a capacity crowd of some 70,000 at Kinshasa’s Stade des Martyrs watched hosts V Club and TP Mazembe Engelbert draw 2-2 in DR Congo. Leaders FUS Rabat lost at home in Morocco’s Botola and have a precarious one point lead over Moghreb Tetouan.
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