Zesco United forward Lazarus Kambole scored the fastest hat-trick in the African Champions League to steal the limelight as the penultimate round fixtures concluded across Africa.
Record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt joined TP Mazembe, Esperance de Tunis, defending champions Wydad Casablanca and Etoile du Sahel in the quarterfinals.
The Red Devils made the knockout as the only side from the round after edging out regional rivals Esperance de Tunis away by Walid Azaro’s lone goal in the Group A tie.
Anas Al Asbahi’s 56th minute rocket complicated progression chances of Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa as Wydad edged them out 1-0 at Mohamed V Stadium, Casablanca, Morocco.
AS Togo Ports 2-1 loss to Horoya AC did not make the work of the 2016 champs any easier as they will now have to beat the Guinean giants in Pretoria in the final showdown to sail through.
ES Satif rallied to stop five-time champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo 1-1 for their second draw on the trot.
The Ravens are however through to the quarter-finals, having booked their ticket from Group B in the previous round.
Kambole delivered the fastest hat-trick in the tournament’s history in five minutes to hand Zesco United an emphatic 3-0 victory against newbies Mbabane Swallows away in eSwatini.
The 24-year-old tore to pieces European record of eight minutes held by Betafimbi Gomis.
Mike Newell – 9 minutes (Blackburn Rovers 4-1 Rosenborg)
Betafimbi Gomis – 8 minutes (Dinamo Zagreb 1-7 Olympique Lyonnais)
The Zambians had made the trip without four key players including prolific Kenyan striker Jesse Were, who were denied to board a South African Airways flight due to visa complications.
Still, the 2016 semi-finalists are not out of the woods and will rely on hard work and luck to make it out of Group D.
Zega Mambo, as the team is fondly referred, will have to beat Etoile du Sahel away in Tunisia and pray that Angola’s Club Desportivo 1 de Agosto does not win against Mbabane Swallows at home.
Agosto managed to squeeze an important away point in a 1-1 draw against Etoile to place themselves in prime position to sail through on the final day.
Full Match Day 5 Results and Table Standings
Horoya AC 2-1 AS Togo Ports
Wydad Casablanca 1-0 Mamelodi Sundowns
Esperance de Tunis 0-1 Al Ahly SC
ES Setif 1-1 TP Mazembe
Mbabane Swallows 0-3 Zesco United
KCCA 1-0 Township Rollers
Etoile de Sahel 1-1 Club Desportivo 1 de Agosto
Difaa El Jadida 2-0 MC Alger
Do you have a story you want told? Do you know of a sensitive story you would like us to get our hands on? Email your news TIPS to email@example.com