JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Unfashionable US Masseda of Togo staged a dramatic second-round comeback Sunday to earn a crack at mighty Esperance of Tunisia in the African Confederation Cup.
Masseda overcame a two-goal first leg deficit in the African equivalent of the European UEFA Cup by outclassing Issia Wazi of Ivory Coast 4-1 in Lome to squeeze through on aggregate.
Esperance, one of the wealthiest football clubs on the continent and winners of every African Football Confederation competition except the Confederation Cup, were also involved in a thriller.
The 'Blood and Gold' scored twice within 23 minutes to defeat Moroccan lower league club Rachad Barnoussi 2-0 in Tunis and qualify on away goals after an embarrassing 3-1 loss in Casablanca two weeks ago.
Issia were joined on the scrapheap by fellow Ivorians Entente Bingerville, who overcame Senegalese visitors Linguere 3-0 to level the west African showdown on aggregate only to lose the penalty shootout.
Spot kicks were also needed to separate Express of Uganda and Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who won the Kampala shootout 4-2 following two goalless draws.
Cuthbert Malajila was the hero of Zimbabwe outfit Highlanders, scoring the 39th-minute goal that earned a 1-0 win over Zambian army team Green Buffaloes in Bulawayo and overall success after a drawn first leg.
Zimbabwe international Malajila was also on target in Zambia and Highlanders now face 2007 Confederation Cup runners-up Al-Merreikh of Sudan, who maintained a three-goal advantage over Rayon Sport of Rwanda by drawing 0-0 in Kigali.
A diving first-half header from midfielder Mohamed al-Herda brought Coast Guards of Egypt a 1-0 win over Mouloudia Alger of Algeria in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria following a goalless first leg.
The next opponents for the Egyptian military club will be surprise packets Al-Akhdar of Libya, who shocked Young Africans 1-0 in Tanzania thanks to an eighth-minute goal from Cameroonian Hosto Joseph.
Gabonese side Mangasport maintained a 100 percent record in the competition this year with a 1-0 home win over Petro Atletico of Angola, who signed Kenyan and Jamaican strikers to try and make an impression on the African stage.
South African title contenders Ajax Cape Town were impressive 4-1 victors against Anse Reunion in the Seychelles while third round opponents Mount Cameroon qualified despite losing 1-0 at home to Primerio Maio of Angola.
Nigerian challengers Wikki Tourists derived little pleasure for a visit to Ghana, crashing 4-1 to 2004 Confederation Cup runners-up Asante Kotoko in the central city of Kumasi.
Title holders CS Sfaxien of Tunisia found the going tougher than expected, coming from behind in Algeria to draw 1-1 with modest JSM Bejaia having won the first leg by a solitary goal.
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