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Maringwa the hero as Dynamos upset African champions

in UEFA Champions League 27 Apr 2008

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Veteran Desmond Maringwa scored the winner as Dynamos of Zimbabwe upset title holders Etoile Sahel of Tunisia 1-0 in the African Champions League on Sunday.

He is the sole survivor of the 1998 team that won and lost 1-0 against Etoile en route to the final where they were overpowered by ASEC Mimosas from the Ivory Coast.

Maringwa struck after 60 minutes of the third round, first leg qualifier at a packed Gwanzura Stadium in Harare while Etoile were unlucky not to level as shots from Amine Chermiti and Mohamed Nafkha struck the woodwork.

It was the second consecutive away loss for Sahel, the only team to win every African Football Confederation club competition, after a 3-0 reverse against Douanes in Senegal this month.

Etoile had won the first leg by five goals at the Olympic Stadium in their Mediterranean base of Sousse and will host the most popular Zimbabwean club there over the weekend of May 9-11 with a place in the group phase at stake.

On a weekend when contenders for the one-million-dollar first prize used home advantage to good effect, five-time champions Zamalek of Egypt and perennial underachievers Cotonsport Garoua of Cameroon built 3-0 leads.

Zamalek wasted little time establishing their superiority over Angolan police outfit InterClube at Cairo Stadium as Amr al-Safti, Mahmoud “Shikabala' Razek and Mohamed Ibrahim scored within 26 minutes of the kick-off.

Cotonsport have a good chance of reaching the pool phase for the first time thanks to a goal in each half by Daouda Kamilou after Zoua Daogari had put the local club ahead on 20 minutes in the north-west town of Garoua.

Kelechi Osunwa scored twice and fellow Nigerian Yusuf Mohamed once as a late surge from 2007 semi-finalists Al-Hilal of Sudan produced a 4-2 triumph over Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa after an Omdurman thriller.

Sundowns owner, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, craves African football glory and goals from midfielders Surprise Moriri and Josta Dladla gave the visitors a chance of a draw until Hilal struck twice in the closing stages.

Nigerian challengers Enyimba, one of just three teams to successfully defend the title, were the most impressive home victors, humiliating 1991 champions Club Africain of Tunisia 5-1 in the south-east town of Aba.

The club who conquered Africa in 2003 and 2004 are a fearful force before their supporters having overwhelmed Diables Noir of Congo 4-1 and Simba of Tanzania 4-0 in previous rounds.

ASEC, one of eight clubs among the last 16 who have lifted the trophy, were the only hosts not to make an impact as they were held 0-0 in Abidjan by African rookies Olympique Khouribga of Morocco.

Appearing in the 43-year competition for the first time, provincial side Khouribga are the sole Moroccan challengers after the shock first round elimination of FAR Rabat by Sporting Club Praia of the Cape Verde Islands.

The winners of the African Champions League are not only richly rewarded but also qualify for the end-of-year FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, where Etoile finished fourth.

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