AC Leopards became the first Congo Brazzaville team to reach the Orange CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals after an emphatic 3-0 home victory over Djoliba of Mali Sunday. No club from the central Africa country has come close to winning a CAF competition since Brazzaville-based CARA lifted the African Champions Cup 38 years ago.
Leopards are based in western city Dolisie and needed to match the result of Wydad Casablanca of Morocco at Stade Malien of Mali to ensure they remained second behind Group B winners Djoliba. But the Congolese outfit gave their best display of the six-round group phase to hammer the Malians through goals from Bienvenu Kombo, Herman Lakolo and Rochel Kivouri after leading 1-0 at half-time.
Wydad came from behind three times in Bamako to snatch a stoppage-time 3-3 draw with 2009 Confederation Cup winners Stade, who finished bottom with only three points. Goals from Bourama Coulibaly, Bakary Coulibaly and Lamine Diawara nudged the Maliens in front only for Wydad to hit back each time with Bakr El Hilali, Congolese Lys Mouithys and Abderrahim Benkajjane netting.
The reward for Leopards, who had to pre-qualify for the second-tier competition, is a semi-final against Al Merreikh while another Sudanese side, Al Hilal, tackle Djoliba.