Egyptian giants Al Ahly and Zamalek advanced to the African Champions League last-16 Saturday under former English Premier League managers Martin Jol and Alex McLeish.
Jol-coached Ahly won 2-0 at home against Recreativo Libolo of Angola thanks to an early Ramadan Sobhi goal and a late John Antwi tie-clincher.
Record eight-time champions Ahly advanced 2-0 on aggregate after a goalless first leg last weekend and meet Young Africans of Tanzania during April for a group place.
Dutchman Jol managed Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in the Premier League, then took a two-year break from football before joining Ahly last month.
Scotland-born former Birmingham City and Aston Villa boss McLeish saw Zamalek triumph 2-0 in Cairo over fellow ex-champions Union Douala of Cameroon.
Five-time champions Zamalek advanced 3-0 on aggregate having won 1-0 in Central Africa six days ago and play Club Africain of Tunisia or Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria next (Club Africain lead the tie 1-0).
Talented but sometimes troublesome Mahmoud ‘Kahraba’ Abdel Moneim broke the second-leg deadlock during the opening half and Ahmed Tawfik added a late second goal.
Ahly and Zamalek are among the 2016 title favourites in the premier African club competition along with defending champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo, who play Sunday level 2-2 with Kedus Giorgis of Ethiopia.
Other former champions to secure last-16 places were Enyimba of Nigeria, Etoile Sahel of Tunisia and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.
Enyimba fell 2-1 against Vital’O of Burundi in Bujumbura, but a 5-1 first-leg triumph ensured a convincing overall passage for the Nigerians.
Burundian dreams of a sensational second-leg comeback lasted 28 minutes before Ikechukwu Ibenegbu struck for the visitors.
Shasiri Nahimana equalised within two minutes and Laudit Mavugo won the return match with a mid-second half goal.
Wydad also lost 2-1 away – to CNaPS Sport of Madagascar in Mahajanga – and also booked a final qualifying round slot on a 6-3 aggregate
Second-half goals from Ahmed Akaichi and Drame Michailou gave Etoile a 2-0 victory over Moroccan visitors Olympique Khouribga in Mediterranean resort Sousse.
Etoile, the only winners of all five CAF club competitions, qualified 3-1 on aggregate and face Enyimba next in a repeat of the 2004 final won on penalties by the Nigerians.
Al Merrikh of Sudan won and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and Young Africans drew to advance.
Bakri Abdel Gadir scored four minutes from time in Omdurman to earn 2015 semi-finalists Al Merrikh a second 1-0 victory within a week over Warri Wolves of Nigeria.
Two goals up from the first leg, Mamelodi Sundowns went further ahead through an early Hlompho Kekana shot and AC Leopards of Republic of Congo salvaged a 1-1 second-leg draw through a late Ntela Kalema penalty.
Young Africans advanced despite being held 1-1 at home by Rwandans APR, who trailed 2-1 from the first meeting. Donald Ngoma levelled after Fiston Nkinzingabo put the visitors ahead.
Another eight second legs are scheduled for Sunday. In action in addition to TP Mazembe are 2014 and 1988 champions ES Setif of Algeria, who are level 1-1 with Republic of Congo’s Etoile du Congo. The 2014 runners up AS Vita Club of DR Congo lead Ferroviario Maputo 1-0 ahead of the second leg in the Mozambique capital, as well.
Mali’s Stade Malien own a 2-0 edge over Cameroon’s Coton Sport, Zambian side Zesco United lead Horoya of Guinea 4-1, Ivory Coast’s Asec Mimosas lead South Africans Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 and Al Ahli Tripoli of Libya are 1-0 ahead of of Al Hilal of Sudan.
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