Referees see red, 4 players sent off
TITLE holders MAS Fes of Morocco had four players sent off as they crashed out of the CAF Confederation Cup in the third round this weekend.
Athletic Club Leopards of Congo Brazzaville triumphed 2-0 at home in a fiery clash that lasted 120 minutes to overturn a one-goal away defeat and secure a place in the mini-league phase of the second-tier CAF club competition.
MAS, who defeated Club Africain of Tunisia in a penalty shoot-out last year to become the third Moroccan winners of the cup, had midfielder Rachid Dahmani red carded before falling behind to a 40th-minute Diabole goal.
The Angolan referee sent off defenders Omar Ennamsaoui and Said Hammouni in the final minute of regulation time and another defender, Younes Lyousfi, in stoppage time.
MAS kept Leopards at bay with seven men until the 110th minute when Diallo fired a penalty past goalkeeper Anas Zniti to seal passage into the last eight for the Congolese.
It was another prized scalp for Leopards who overcame a first-round home loss to two-time Confederation Cup winners CSS of Tunisia by winning 2-0 in Sfax.
The Congolese also eliminated Tempete Mocaf of the Central African Republic and Heartland of Nigeria in other qualifiers en route to the group phase, where qualifiers earn at least R1363906 in prize money.
Black Leopards of South Africa were held 0-0 at home by 2007 runners-up Al Merreikh from Sudan and bowed out having lost 3-2 in Omdurman two weeks ago.
Al Hilal also advanced with a 1-0 win over Cercle Bamako in Mali through a first half goal from Mudathir Eltaib after taking a two-goal advantage into the return match.
Stade Malien held COD Meknes 1-1 in Morocco to advance 4-1 on aggregate. Djoliba squeezed through on penalties after a 2-0 loss to Club Africain in Tunis.
Abdelali Essamlali offered Meknes a glimmer of hope with a goal after 21 minutes, but Lamine Diawara levelled before half-time for 2009 title holders Stade Malien.
Hamzi Agrebi put Africain ahead during the first half at the Olympic Stadium and Haj Massaoud scored a tie-levelling second goal from a spot kick seven minutes into stoppage time before Djoliba won 4-3 in the shoot-out.
Wydad Casablanca, runners-up to Esperance of Tunisia in the 2011 CAF Champions League, were the lone Moroccan survivors with a 0-0 home draw against AFAD Djekanou of Ivory Coast.