Hearts of Oak, Ghana’s champions, have been eliminated from the Confederation Cup on Sunday after suffering yet another defeat in North Africa.
The 2004 champions were defeated 4-0 by JS Saoura in the remote west Algerian city of Bechar, completing a 4-2 aggregate victory.
Despite a 1-0 home win in the first leg, Hearts were eliminated in the final qualifying round of the African Champions League in 2021-22 after being thrashed 6-1 in Morocco by Wydad Casablanca.
After establishing a two-goal lead last weekend, Hearts fans were hoping for a better performance against debutants Saoura.
The Algerians, however, scored twice in the first half of the rematch to level the tie on aggregate, and early and late second-half goals advanced them to the group-stage draw, which will take place on December 23 in Cairo.
Abdeljalil Saad opened the scoring for the hosts, followed by Oussama Bellatreche’s goals either side of half-time, and Abdelaziz Lahmeri’s goal two minutes from time.
Rivers United of Nigeria were another west African club to struggle in the north, losing 1-0 to Al Masry of Egypt in their play-off on the away goals rule.
Mohamed Grendo scored the only goal of the second leg in Alexandria after only 14 minutes.
Enyimba, Nigeria’s most successful club in continental competition, fared better, defeating Libyan visitors Al Ittihad 2-0 in a delayed first leg.
For the two-time African champions, Sadiq Abubakar and Victor Mbaoma scored in the first half. The second leg has yet to be scheduled.
Former Champions League winners TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Asec Mimosas of the Ivory Coast were among 14 clubs to secure group stage spots so far.
Following a shock exit from the Champions League, Mazembe forced a 0-0 draw away to South African minnows Marumo Gallants in Polokwane and won 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a first-leg own-goal.
Mazembe are the only DR Congo team to make it to the tournament’s group stages after Maniema Union were eliminated by Pyramids of Egypt despite a 1-0 home win and DC Motema Pembe were eliminated by Gendarmerie Nationale of Niger despite a 1-0 home win.
Teenager Karim Konate scored the second goal as Asec defeated Angolan team InterClube 3-2 after taking a two-goal lead to Luanda.