African champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo take a 1-0 lead to face Stade Gabesien in Tunisia on Tuesday as they seek to avoid elimination from the Confederation Cup.
Mazembe dropped into the second-tier continental club tournament after losing in the final qualifying round of the Champions League by Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.
Gabesien only qualified because Tunisian Cup winners Etoile du Sahel secured a Champions League slot.
Despite it being Gabesien’s first outing in African club competition Mazembe, the five-time African champions, struggled to convert their chances at home.
They eventually scored four minutes into injury time at the end of the first leg through DR Congo’s Jonathan Bolingi.
France-born Mazembe coach Hubert Velud believes his mix of Congolese, Ghanaian, Ivorian, Malian, Tanzanian and Zambian stars can survive in Tunisia.
In Tuesday’s other game Esperance, winners of every CAF competition except the Confederation Cup, are also in a good position as they host Mouloudia Bejaia after a 0-0 draw in Algeria.
The silver lining for Etoile, who play on Wednesday, after getting knocked out of the Champions League is they get a chance to defend the title they won last year by beating Orlando Pirates of South Africa.
Zied Boughattas and Iheb Msakni punished poor set-piece defending to give over Gabonese visitors Mounana in Mediterranean resort Sousse.
Etoile, the only winners of all five Caf club competitions, are experts at defending a lead and it would be a shock if they came unstuck in Libreville.
Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa visit Ghana with a 3-1 lead over Medeama, thanks to three goals in seven minutes from Zimbabweans Khama Billiat and Cuthbert Malajila and Colombian Leonardo Castro.
Young Africans of Tanzania are another visiting club holding a two-goal lead, and they are even better placed than Sundowns having not conceded at home in a 2-0 win over Angolans Sagrada Esperanca.
Misr Elmaqasah of Egypt host Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya and FUS Rabat of Morocco are at home to Stade Malien of Mali after goalless first legs.
Al Merreikh, the only Sudanese club to win a Caf competition, take a 1-0 advantage to face Kawkab Marrakech in Morocco.