CAF Champions League, Confed Cup Round-up

Hilal Fans during a 2017 CAF Champions League football match. BackpagePix

USM Alger set themselves up for progress to the last eight of the African Champions League with an away point on Friday, while Al Merreikh of Sudan won their derby 2-1 against Al Hilal to put themselves firmly in contention for progress in the continent's top club competition.

USMA remain top of Group B, with a home game to come in their last clash next weekend, after a 1-1 draw away against Al Ahli Tripoli of Libya, played in Sfax in Tunisia, and will be confident of a quarter-final berth.

The Algerians, who were runners up in the Champions League two years ago, share top spot on eight points from five games with Al Ahli Tripoli but have a better goal difference and will qualify if they beat struggling CAPS United in their last game at home next Sunday July 9.

Chafai scored after 16 minutes to hand USMA the lead, reacting quickest to a poor save from a swirling free kick, sending a noisy traveling following into raptures.

Anis Saltou, who is emerging as a top talent in the competition, scored a superb equaliser in the 40th minute as he trapped a high ball on his chest, swiveled around and hit the ball home.

In the second half, USMA goalkeeper Mohamed Lamine Zemmamouche saved Sameh Derbali's penalty to ensure a vital point for USMA.

Al Merreikh are now into second place in Group A after Mohamed Abdel Rahman Yousif scored twice, early in each half. The first was a powerful shot from outside the area and the second a clever put away after a mazy run.

Al Hilal are still without a win in the group and had to settle for a consolation goal from Mohamed Mousa in the 65th minute.

Confederation Cup

In the African Confederation Cup, unbeaten Mouloudia Alger are the first club to secure a place in the next phase after disposing of bottom placed Platinum Stars of South Africa.

A penalty after 12 minutes from full back Abderrahmane Hachoud and a stoppage time goal at the end from Hichem Nekkache settled the outcome of the game to take the Algerians to 11 points and a guaranteed top two spot.

Zesco United kept up a strong run by Zambian clubs in both of the African club competitions by holding Smouha of Egypt to 1-1 draw in Group C of the Confederation Cup.

The result means Zesco will secure a quarter-final place if they beat Al Hilal Obayed at home in their last group game next weekend.

Zesco took the lead six minutes from time in Alexandria when Yasser Ibrahim was in the way of a clearance by his team mate and the ball deflected into the home team's net. Shortly after, Burkina Faso international Banou Diawara equalised from the penalty spot after Ahmed Nabil had been adjudged to have been tripped in the box.

Smouha dropped to last place in the group and must now win away in Angola in their final group game.