An overcrowded Cairo press box held up a Caf Champions League fixture by 15 minutes on Sunday while Berekum Chelsea of Ghana and Recreativo do Libolo of Angola went on goal sprees in other last-32 ties.
Footballers from Africa Sports of Côte d’Ivoire complained at half-time that there were too many people in the media area at the Military Academy Stadium, where they were playing Zamalek of Egypt behind closed doors.
Journalists lacking authorisation were evicted from the ground before play resumed and Zamalek won the first leg 1-0 thanks to a first-minute goal from Benin striker Razak Omotoyossi.
Zamalek, winners of the elite Caf club competition five times, also had to bar spectators from a preliminary tie against Young Africans of Tanzania as part of the punishment for crowd trouble in the same competition last year.
Cairo neighbours Al Ahly, whose six titles is a Champions League record, forced a 0-0 draw at Coffee of Ethiopia with rival goalkeepers Gebrekidan Mussei and Sherif Ekrami outstanding.
Veteran Ahly midfielder Mohamed Abou Treika squandered a chance to snatch victory with an injury-time miss in the stamina-sapping 2 400-metre altitude of the Addis Ababa national stadium.
It was the first competitive outing for Ahly since February 1 when riots after their domestic league loss to Al Masry in Port Said claimed 74 lives with many crushed to death and others fatally stabbed.
Emmanuel Clottey scored a second-half hat-trick as Chelsea trounced three-time champions Raja Casablanca 5-0 in Sunyani with the Moroccans reduced to 10 men when a goal behind after the expulsion of centre-back Rabii Houbry.
Solomon Asante scored on 33 minutes for Berekum, a club formed 10 years ago and competing in Africa for the first time, and midfielder Abdul Basit was also on target during the second-half goal rampage.
“The strategy is to score more goals than our opponent,” was the reaction of Dutch-born Chelsea coach Hans van der Plyum to a result not even the most partisan supporter of the club could have expected.
“If you play a team like Raja at home first you must take your chances because they are so difficult to beat in Morocco,” he added after a match that has elevated Berekum from outsiders to contenders for a group place.
Recreativo followed up a shock preliminary round victory over Orlando Pirates by whipping Sunshine Stars of Nigeria 4-1 at their 5 000-seat stadium in Calulo south of Luanda.
Stars’ hopes appeared bright after Izu Azuka scored on the hour mark to cancel the first half lead Rasca gave Libolo, but a late Angolan surge brought goals for Adawa, Dario and Caputo.
Fellow Nigerians Dolphins scraped a 2-1 win over Cameroon visitors Cotonsport Garoua in Port Harcourt courtesy of an 87th-minute goal from Owusu Addae after Ifeanyi Egwin gave the home team an early lead and Jacques Haman equalised. — Sapa-AFP