Holders Esperance of Tunisia were held 0-0 by AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday as the third round of group games in this season’s African Champions League got underway.
Esperance failed to find the net despite scoring six goals in the FIFA club World Cup 10 days ago
The result in Rades was unexpected as Esperance had also won their previous two Group D matches while Vita Club had lost twice.
Esperance are chasing a record third consecutive Champions League title this season after victories over Al Ahly of Egypt and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the last two finals.
While Esperance could not turn dominance into goals , second-placed Raja Casablanca of Morocco closed the gap to one point in Group D with a 2-0 home win over JS Kabylie of Algeria.
Esperance have seven points, Raja six, Kabylie three and Vita Club one halfway through the six-round group phase with the top two finishers qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Backed by a passionate crowd in Casablanca, Raja scored twice within three minutes early in the second half.
Soufiane Rahimi created the first goal for DR Congo-born Ben Malango and scored the second himself as three-time champions Raja took control.
It was the third goal for Rahimi in the Champions League this season and the first for Malango, who is in his maiden season with the Moroccan club after moving from Mazembe.
Outclassed at home by Esperance in the first group match, Raja have recovered impressively with an away win over Vita Club before Friday’s victory over twice champions Kabylie.