top teams out

LAGOS - Two-time champions Asante Kotoko of Ghana, South Africa's Orlando Pirates and Nigeria's Bayelsa United all crashed out at the first hurdle of this year's CAF Champions League.

LAGOS - Two-time champions Asante Kotoko of Ghana, South Africa's Orlando Pirates and Nigeria's Bayelsa United all crashed out at the first hurdle of this year's CAF Champions League.

Kotoko, African champions in 1970 and 1983, were bundled out of Africa's richest club competition 4-2 on penalties by debutants ASC Lingue're on Sunday at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra. That came after the Kumasi club had overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg with goals from Kabiru Imoro and goalkeeper Isaac Amoako.

The first-round return leg match was pushed into a penalty shootout after the clubs were tied at 2-2 on aggregate. Isaac Amoako and Ofosu Appiah missed their kicks to hand Lingue're, who converted all four kicks, passage into the second round, where they will face Mali's Djoliba, who pipped Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya.

Gaborone United of Botswana stunned Orlando Pirates with two dramatic late goals, one an own goal in the dying minutes to earn a 2-2 draw that was enough to knock the 1995 African champions out on the away goals rule. The first leg in Gaborone two weeks ago ended goalless.

Pirates were coasting at 2-0 until Katlego Mashego headed home an own goal from a Vincent Phiri corner in the 86th minute and two minutes later substitute Stephen Maposa headed home the equaliser.

The loss could also signal the end of coach Ruud Krol's two-year stay at Pirates, having failed to win the South African championship and now suffering defeat to minnows in the first round of a competition in which Pirates were expected to at least advance to the group phase.

PSL champions SuperSport United and Moroka Swallows are now SA's representatives in Africa's premier club competitions after United beating Swaziland champions Mbabane Swallows 5-3 on aggregate in the Champions League, while Birds beat Pamplemousses of Mauritius 5-1 in the Confederation Cup. Last year's Confederation Cup semifinalists Bayelsa United were further Champions League casualties. They were eliminated by little-known Gazelle from Chad 3-2 on aggregate. Bayelsa won last year's Nigeria league title.

The prize for the Chadians will be a clash against Sudanese giants Al Merriekh, who beat Saint George of Ethiopia 3-1 after a 1-1 draw in Addis Ababa.

Tunisian champions Esperance owe their passage to the second round of the competition to striker Michael Eneramo, whose stoppage-time winner separated them from Sierra Leone's East End Lions.

Fellow Tunisians Club Africain also booked their passage to the next round with a 1-0 win over Sahel FC of Niger . - Sapa-AFP

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