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CAF Cup quarter-finals: Surprises and triumphs in first leg matches

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The quarter-finals of the CAF Cup witnessed intense action as clubs vied for supremacy in the first leg clashes on Sunday, March 31. Stade Malien faced a setback at home against Dreams FC, while Zamalek SC, Rivers United, and Dreams FC emerged victorious with promising leads.

Rivers United asserted their dominance with a narrow yet crucial victory over USM Alger, securing a 1-0 win in their quarter-final encounter. Augustine Okejepha’s early strike in the 10th minute proved decisive, providing the Nigerian club with a valuable lead.

Despite their relentless efforts, Rivers United couldn’t extend their advantage but clinched a vital win ahead of the return leg on April 7.

Meanwhile, Stade Malien suffered a surprising defeat on home turf against Dreams FC, with the Ghanaians sealing a 2-1 victory. Although Stade Malien initially took the lead with Yoro Mamadou Diaby’s goal in the 53rd minute, Dreams FC rallied back with a brace from John Antwi in the 66th and 73rd minutes.

The Malian side’s woes were compounded when Diaby was sent off in stoppage time (90+1), leaving them with an uphill task in the return fixture.

Zamalek secured a crucial away win against Modern Futur, prevailing 2-1 in a tightly contested encounter. Despite conceding an early goal in the 35th minute, the Egyptian giants rallied to equalize just before halftime (45+5) through Hamza Mathlouthi.

Ahmed Sayed “Zico” sealed the victory with a late penalty conversion in the 88th minute, putting Zamalek in a commanding position ahead of the second leg.

However, Abu Salem and RSB Berkane played out a goalless draw, with neither team able to break the deadlock in their quarter-final clash.

RSB Berkane faced adversity when Hamza El Moussaoui received a red card in the 57th minute, leaving them with a numerical disadvantage for a significant portion of the match.

As the only stalemate in the quarter-finals, both teams will seek a decisive outcome in the return leg next week.

As the first leg matches concluded, the stage is set for thrilling encounters in the return fixtures, promising further drama and excitement in the quest for CAF Cup glory.

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