Multiple African football title winners Zamalek of Egypt are facing a fight for CAF Champions League survival after being held 1-1 by Saint George of Ethiopia in Cairo this weekend.
Zamalek have won the Champions League five times, the Super Cup three times and the Cup Winners Cup once, making them the second most successful club in African football after 16-trophy neighbours Al-Ahly.
But that pedigree was rarely evident in a last-16, first leg against Saint George at an empty Air Defence stadium with an Egyptian side lacking injured midfield talisman Ahmed Hassan generally well contained.
A careless midfield pass by Salah Soliman just past the hour mark allowed Oumed Oukri to break clear and he held off a challenge before hitting a low drive past goalkeeper Abdelwahed Al-Sayed from outside the box.
It was the first goal conceded by the White Knights in five Champions League matches this season against Gazelle of Chad, Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Saint George.
Playing in an eerie atmosphere, Zamalek pressed for an equaliser and were rewarded eight minutes from time when Burkina Faso-born Abdoulaye Cisse finished off a Mohamed Ibrahim cross.
The struggle to win the final round qualifier and secure a place in the group phase has tilted toward Saint George, who host the return match early May knowing a goalless draw will suffice to see them through.
Zamalek had to play behind closed doors after some of the crowd at the Gazelle match in Alexandria -- limited to 3,000 because of post-Arab Spring security concerns -- ripped up seats without explanation.
Zambia striker Collins Mbesuma scored twice in the second half to give 1995 champions Orlando Pirates of South Africa a 3-1 win over four-time title-holders TP Mazembe from DR Congo at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Mbesuma tucked away a cut-back and converted a stoppage-time penalty after he was fouled by goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba as a Pirates team lacking many injured regulars exceeded expectations.
Onyekachi Okonkwo, a Champions League winner with Nigerian club Enyimba, got the Buccaneers off to a perfect start by scoring in the second minute only for Patou Kabangu to level just before half-time.
Esperance, champions once and runners-up twice in the past three Champions League competitions, had a goal ruled out for offside as they forced a 0-0 draw at JSM Bejaia of Algeria.
The Algerians were also held goalless at home by Asante Kotoko of Ghana in the previous round, but forced a score draw in the return match and advanced on the away-goal rule.