Ugandan side KCCA FC suffer a 4-0 defeat to Tunisian side Club Africain, leading to their exit from the CAF Confederations Cup.
CAF CONFEDERATIONS CUP
Group A: Friday's Game 6 results
Club Africain 4 KCCA 0
FUS Rabat 2 Rivers United 1
(Club Africain & FUS Rabat advance to quarter-finals)
Avoid defeat and you are home and dry. That was KCCA FC's clearly cut-out task in Tunis as they faced Club Africain at the Stade Olympique de Radès late Friday in the final group-stage game of the CAF Condeferations Cup.
Eventually, they were beaten by a huge, convincing margin with no reply, and with a 2-1 full-time result in the FUS Rabat v Rivers United game, it was a cue for KCCA to pack their bags.
That marked the end of continental competitive football for the Ugandan outfit this season.
KCCA and Club Africain came into Friday's crucial 11pm (Ugandan time) encounter knowing a draw was enough to take them both through to the quarter-finals at the expense of Rivers and Rabat.
But in the end, it was the north African sides celebrating progression to the last-eight.
Both sets of games were played almost simultaneously. And as the minutes died out, KCCA rode on the hope that a below-par Rivers side would keep out their hosts at 1-1. But with four minutes left on the clock, Rabat were gifted a game-changing penalty, which was deftly slotted in to send the partisan crowd into celebrations.
The jubilations may have come a bit prematurely, even with about four minutes of added time looming, but when the final whistle was eventually sounded, Rabat knew they had landed safely ashore.
Dominant Africain itching for goals
Meanwhile, in the other tie, Geoffrey Sserunkuuma, who scored one of the three goals against FUS Rabat in Kampala last week, had come close against Africain early into the game as the visitors exerted pressure for an opener.
It was a fairly good start for Coach Mike Mutebi's side, until the hosts found the breakthrough in the 10th minute through Saber Khalifa.
A suddenly underpressure KCCA side fell even further behind 14 minutes later courtesy of a Manoubi Haddad strike not long after centre-back Timothy Awany's crucial interventions had kept the Kasasiro Boys well in it.
Mutebi watched as his charges failed to recollect themselves, and with nerves and emotions starting to bubble, it was perhaps unsurprising that the first booking of the game went to KCCA: Muzamiru Mutyaba, to be more precise.
And sensing the need for more industry in the visitors' attack, the Ugandan tactician brought on Derrick Nsibambi and off came Jackson Nunda on the half-hour mark.
But at the other end of the pitch, the Tunisians toyed with other ideas. KCCA goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan was beaten a third time in the late-night game, this time by Moataz Zemzemi, five minutes to half-time. It was total supremacy on display by Africain as well as an illustration of just how lethal they can get in the comforts of playing at home in front of an exciting crowd.
For KCCA, it was a humbling first half, and one Mutebi and co needed to reflect and work so delicately on back in the dressing room to sever further damage.
KCCA treading dangerously
At half-time, the Ugandan reigning league champions were treading on a dangerously thin rope, particularly because Rivers United, against the run of play, were at the time leading FUS Rabat in the other Group A game across the border in Rabat.
Nine minutes into the second half, KCCA exhausted their substitutes with a double reform: Paul Mucureezi replaced Mutyaba while Awany made way for Denis Rukundo.
The dimension of the game remained largely undisturbed for most of the second period but the visitors, through good interplay by Sadam Juma and Julius Poloto, nearly pulled one back as the game eased into the home straight.
Veteran attacker Sserunkuuma, largely anonymous in this one, had a chance at goal but profligacy got the better of him. This just wasn't his night.
Then came the moment Africain felt they needed to wrap things up. Another goal, the fourth of the tie on a one-sided scoreline, came in the 86th minute to all but snuff out KCCA's torch.
Four minutes of added time could as well have been spared. It was long game over for the visitors.
The Ugandan representatives exited the competition not with shoulders drooped and tails between their legs, but with their heads held high for having made it thus far.
KCCA STARTING LINE-UP
Benjamin Ochan, Timothy Awany, Denis Okot, Paul Musamali, Isaac Kirabira, Muzamiru Mutyaba, Sadam Juma, Julius Poloto, Isaac Muleme, Geoffrey Sserunkuuma, Jackson Nunda
Charles Lukwago, Denis Rukundo, Derrick Nsibambi, Allan Okello, Paul Mucureezi, Peter Magambo