Swallows continue to fly high in Champions League

It was a mixed bag of results for COSAFA clubs in the African Champions League on Wednesday night with Swaziland side Mbabane Swallows providing the surprise result away in Zambia.

Swallows transferred last year’s giant-killing spree in the African Confederation Cup to this year’s Champions League and took a giant step towards becoming the first club from the small kingdom to reach the group phase after victory over Zanaco.

Swallows came from a goal down to score through Felix Badenhorst’s back post header in the 55th minute and Richard McCreesh’s 87th minute winner, and beat Zanaco 2-1 at Lusaka’s Nkoloma stadium.

Striker Felix Nyaende missed a stoppage time penalty that would have given the lacklustre Zambians a draw after Chavda Maisha had opened the scoring in the 40th minute.

It is the first year Zambia have two representatives in the Champions League but their chances of having a side in the group phase look slim after Zesco United, who are without a coach, lost 1-0 in Ndola to ASEC Abidjan.

Gelson got a 78th minute winner for Primeiro Agosto to defeat BidVest Wits of South Africa 1-0 in Angola, while 2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a 0-0 draw by Rayon Sports in Rwanda, but will fancy their chances in the return leg.

In the Confederation Cup, Sibusiso Masina scored at the Zimpeto Stadium, outside of Maputo, for a 1-0 win for visiting Cape Town City over Costa do Sol to keep up a winning start to the South Africans’ debut campaign in continental club competition.

Benni McCarthy’s assistant Vasili Manousakis was in charge in the absence of the rookie coach, who was attending the Champions League match between Manchester City and Basle as part of his UEFA Pro License course.

In the other match involving COSAFA sides played on Wednesday, Fosa Junior of Madagascar won 2-0 away at AS Port Louis of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean derby.

The return legs of both competitions are scheduled for the weekend of March 16-18.