Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP | Gor Mahia could become the first Kenyan club to reach the CAF Champions League group phase after defeating Lobi Stars of Nigeria 3-1 on Sunday in a 2018/2019 round-of-30 first leg.
It was a better-than-expected result for the Nairobi outfit after they struggled to overcome Nyasa Big Bullets of Malawi in the preliminary round, scraping through on penalties.
The overall outcome could hinge on whether Gor can score an away goal in Nigeria this Saturday to cancel the one Lobi snatched in east Africa.
Kenyan clubs have failed to reach the group stage since its introduction in 1997, but Gor came close last year by losing 1-0 overall to eventual champions Esperance of Tunisia.
Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge gave Gor a sixth-minute lead in Nairobi that Samuel Onyango increased midway through the first half.
Samuel Kadiri pulled one goal back for Lobi only for Onyango to net again before half-time with the last goal of the match.
Five former winners of the competition were in action and four won at home while the other drew away.
V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the 1973 champions, look set for the group stage after hammering minnows Bantu of Lesotho 4-1 in Kinshasa.
Jean-Marc Makusu, runner-up in the CAF Confederation Golden Boot race last season with 11 goals, bagged a brace for the Congolese.
Tunisians Club Africain, who were African champions 27 years ago, came from behind to defeat Al Hilal of Sudan 3-1 in the Tunis suburb of Rades.
The hosts had the narrowest of leads until Oussema Darragi scored a potentially crucial third goal one minute into stoppage time.
Ismaily, whose 1969 triumph was the first in the competition by an Egyptian club, won 2-0 at home to Coton Sport of Cameroon with Baher el Mohamadi and Karim Bambo scoring.
Five-time African champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo managed only a 1-0 win over Zambian club Zesco United in Lubumbashi with an early Jackson Muleka goal separating the sides.
Mamelodi Sundowns, who two years ago became the second South African winners of the Champions League, drew 0-0 away to Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya in Cairo.
Benghazi were forced to move the fixture to the Egyptian capital because of militia violence in their country.
AS Otoho of Congo Brazzaville, who shocked 2018 semi-finalists Primeiro Agosto of Angola in the preliminary round, were held 1-1 at home by FC Platinum of Zimbabwe.
Mamane Cisse gave the hosts an 18th-minute lead in the northern town of Owando and Lameck Namho levelled three minutes after half-time.
The 15 second legs are scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday while defending champions Esperance of Tunisia received a bye into the December 28 group draw.