Zambia’s Nkana extended their record of never losing at home in a Confederation of African Football (Caf) competition to 64 matches when they beat Tihad Casablanca 2-0 on Sunday.
DR Congo-born Freddy Tshimenga gave the home team an 18th-minute lead and Obeddy Masumbuko added a second goal four minutes from time
The first leg result offers Nkana a realistic chance of winning the Confederation Cup playoff, with the return match scheduled for Morocco on 21 February.
Nkana have won 45 matches, drawn 19, scored 137 goals and conceded 38 in the Champions League (formerly Cup of Champions Clubs), Confederation Cup, Cup Winners Cup and Caf Cup since a 1983 debut.
Despite the remarkable record, Nkana have yet to win a continental club competition, the closest they came was in 1990 when they lost on penalties to JS Kabylie of Algeria in the Cup of Champions Clubs final.
Elsewhere, Enyimba edged Rivers United 1-0 in an all-Nigerian clash as youngster Anayo Iwuala set up the only goal for Cyril Olisema after 59 minutes of a match temporarily halted by torrential rain in the first half.
Enyimba, the only Nigerian club to win the Champions League, were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes remaining when Tosin Omoyele was sent off.
In Accra, Asante Kotoko of Ghana fell 2-1 to Entente Setif of Algeria after wasting a late chance to equalise when Naby Keita had a penalty pushed over the bar by Sofiane Khedairia.
Prince Opoku gave the Ghanaian Porcupine Warriors a second-half lead that was quickly cancelled by Mohamed Amoura and Ahmed Kendouci struck the winning goal 10 minutes from time.
FC Platinum of Zimbabwe were another club who paid dearly for a fluffed penalty with Silas Songani having his spot-kick saved by Pape Ndiaye as Jaraaf of Senegal won 1-0 in Harare.
South Africa’s Orlando Pirates are virtually certain to be in the 16-team groups draw after two late goals completed a 3-0 away victory over Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana in Gaborone.
National team captain and centre-back Thulani Hlatshwayo gave the Buccaneers from Soweto a half-time advantage and Linda Mntambo and Congolese Jean-Marc Mundele were the other scorers.
Record three-time Confederation Cup winners CS Sfaxien of Tunisia are another team seemingly assured of progressing after building a 4-1 lead over AS Kigali of Rwanda in Sfax, with Mohamed Soula bagging a brace.
The second legs are set for 21 February with the overall winners progressing to the group stage of the Confederation Cup.
Confederation Cup playoff first leg results:
- Gor Mahia (Kenya) 0-1 Napsa Stars (Zambia)
- Platinum (Zimbabwe) 0-1 Jaraaf (Senegal)
- Jwaneng Galaxy (Botswana) 0-3 Orlando Pirates (South Africa)
- Nkana (Zambia) 2-0 Tihad Casablanca (Morocco)
- Young Buffaloes (Eswatini) 1-2 Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)
- Bouenguidi (Gabon) 1-0 Salitas (Burkina Faso)
- Enyimba (Nigeria) 1-0 (Rivers Utd (Nigeria)
- Asante Kotoko (Ghana) 1-2 Entente Setif (Algeria)
- SONIDEP (Niger) 0-1 Coton Sport (Cameroon)
- Raja Casablanca (Morocco) 1-0 US Monastir (Tunisia)
- Stade Malien (Mali) 2-1 JS Kabylie (Algeria)
- Primeiro Agosto (Angola) p-p Namungo (Tanzania) – match not played after Namungo delegation were placed in Covid 19-related quarantine when they arrived in Angola
- RC Abidjan (Ivory Coast) 0-2 Pyramids (Egypt)
- Al Ahly Benghazi (Libya) 1-1 DC Motema Pembe (DR Congo) (Played in Egypt for security reasons)
- CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) 4-1 AS Kigali (Rwanda)
- Bye: Renaissance Berkane (Morocco, holders)