The 2018–19 CAF Champions League (officially the 2018–19 Total CAF Champions League for sponsorship reasons) was the 55th edition of Africa's premier club football tournament organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and the 23rd edition under the current CAF Champions League title.
|2018–19 Total CAF Champions League|
|Dates||27 November 2018 – 31 May 2019|
|Teams||57 (from 46 associations)|
|Champions||Espérance de Tunis (4th title)|
|Goals scored||338 (2.35 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Themba Zwane (5 goals)|
This season followed a transitional calendar which allows the CAF club competitions to switch from a February-to-November schedule to an August–to-May schedule, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017. It began in December 2018, right after the 2018 season had finished, and ended in May 2019, before the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (which had been switched from a January/February to a June/July date). The next season then started after the Africa Cup of Nations and followed the new calendar.
As winners of the 2018–19 CAF Champions League, Espérance de Tunis qualified for the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar, and earned the right to play against the winners of the 2018–19 CAF Confederation Cup, Zamalek, in the 2020 CAF Super Cup.
Association team allocation edit
All 56 CAF member associations may enter the CAF Champions League, with the 12 highest ranked associations according to their CAF 5-year ranking eligible to enter two teams in the competition. As a result, theoretically a maximum of 68 teams could enter the tournament – although this level has never been reached.
For the 2018–19 CAF Champions League, the CAF uses the 2013–2017 CAF 5-year ranking, which calculates points for each entrant association based on their clubs’ performance over those 5 years in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup. The criteria for points are the following:
|CAF Champions League||CAF Confederation Cup|
|Winners||6 points||5 points|
|Runners-up||5 points||4 points|
|Losing semi-finalists||4 points||3 points|
|Losing quarter-finalists (from 2017)||3 points||2 points|
|3rd place in groups||2 points||1 point|
|4th place in groups||1 point||0.5 point|
The points are multiplied by a coefficient according to the year as follows:
- 2017 – 5
- 2016 – 4
- 2015 – 3
- 2014 – 2
- 2013 – 1
The following 57 teams from 46 associations entered the competition.
- For this season, the title holders (in bold italics) receive a bye to the group stage.
- Four teams (in bold) received a bye to the first round.
- The other 52 teams entered the preliminary round.
- Associations which did not enter a team
The schedule of the competition was as follows (matches scheduled in midweek in italics). Effective from the Champions League group stage, weekend matches were played on Fridays and Saturdays while midweek matches were played on Tuesdays, with some exceptions. Kick-off times were also fixed at 13:00 (Saturdays and Tuesdays only), 16:00 and 19:00 GMT.
|Phase||Round||Draw date||First leg||Second leg|
|Qualifying||Preliminary round||3 November 2018
|27–28 November 2018||4–5 December 2018|
|First round||14–16 December 2018||21–23 December 2018|
|Group stage||Matchday 1||28 December 2018
|11–12 January 2019|
|Matchday 2||18–19 January 2019|
|Matchday 3||1–2 February 2019|
|Matchday 4||12 February 2019|
|Matchday 5||8–9 March 2019|
|Matchday 6||15–16 March 2019|
|Knockout stage||Quarter-finals||20 March 2019
|5–6 April 2019||12–13 April 2019|
|Semi-finals||26–27 April 2019||3–4 May 2019|
|Final||24–25 May 2019||31 May – 1 June 2019|
Qualifying rounds edit
The draw for the preliminary round and first round was held on 3 November 2018 in Rabat, Morocco, and was officially announced by the CAF on 9 November due to a special situation with the transitional calendar.
In the qualifying rounds, each tie was played on a home-and-away two-legged basis. If the aggregate score was tied after the second leg, the away goals rule would be applied, and if still tied, extra time would not be played, and the penalty shoot-out would be used to determine the winner (Regulations III. 13 & 14).
Preliminary round edit
First round edit
The 15 winners of the first round advanced to the group stage to join Espérance de Tunis, who received a bye to the group stage as the title holders, while the 15 losers of the first round entered the Confederation Cup play-off round.
|Team 1||Agg.Tooltip Aggregate score||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Wydad AC||3–3 (a)||ASC Diaraf||2–0||1–3|
|JS Saoura||2–1||Ittihad Tanger||2–0||0–1|
|TP Mazembe||2–1||ZESCO United||1–0||1–1|
|Orlando Pirates||1–0||African Stars||0–0||1–0|
|Al-Ahly Benghazi||0–4||Mamelodi Sundowns||0–0||0–4|
|Gor Mahia||3–3 (a)||Lobi Stars||3–1||0–2|
|Al-Ahly||2–1||Jimma Aba Jifar||2–0||0–1|
|Stade Malien||0–2||ASEC Mimosas||0–1||0–1|
|AS Vita Club||5–2||Bantu||4–1||1–1|
|AS Otohô||1–1 (a)||FC Platinum||1–1||0–0|
Group stage edit
The draw for the group stage was held on 28 December 2018, 19:00 CAT (UTC+2), at the Nile Ritz-Carlton in Cairo, Egypt. The 16 teams, including the title holders, Espérance de Tunis, and the 15 winners of the first round of qualifying, were drawn into four groups of four.
The teams were seeded by their performances in the CAF competitions for the previous five seasons (CAF 5-year ranking points shown in parentheses). Each group contained one team from each of Pot 1, Pot 2, Pot 3, and Pot 4, and each team was drawn into one of the positions in their group.
|Pot||Pot 1||Pot 2||Pot 3||Pot 4|
|The teams were ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss). If tied on points, tiebreakers were applied in the following order (Regulations III. 20 & 21):|
Group A edit
- Head-to-head away goals scored: Wydad AC 1, Mamelodi Sundowns 0.
- Head-to-head goal difference: Lobi Stars +1, ASEC Mimosas –1.
Group B edit
|1||Espérance de Tunis||6||4||2||0||9||2||+7||14||Quarter-finals||—||2–0||2–0||2–0|
Group C edit
- Goal difference in all group matches: CS Constantine +2, Club Africain –4.
- The CAF announced on 23 January 2019 that Ismaily were disqualified for aggressive fans behaviors, including consistently throwing rocks and water bottles on the assistant referee and the away fans, and other incidents at their home match against Club Africain on 18 January 2019. All results of matches played by Ismaily were annulled and not taken into consideration according to the regulations. However, following an appeal by Ismaily, the CAF decided on 10 February 2019 to reinstate Ismaily to the competition.
- On 19 February 2019, following the suspension of the match involving Ismaily and Club Africain due to the aggressive behaviors Ismaily fans shown during the match, CAF decided to consider the match forfeited by Ismaily with a result of 3–0 in favour of Club Africain. The match was originally suspended on the 83rd minute with the score 1–2 for Club Africain.
Group D edit
|4||AS Vita Club||6||2||1||3||9||7||+2||7||1–0||5–0||2–2||—|
Knockout stage edit
Each tie in the knockout phase was played over two legs, with each team playing one leg at home. The team that scored more goals on aggregate over the two legs advanced to the next round. If the aggregate score was level, the away goals rule was applied, i.e. the team that scored more goals away from home over the two legs advanced. If away goals were also equal, then extra time was not played and the winners were decided by a penalty shoot-out (Regulations III. 26 & 27).
|Espérance de Tunis||1||abd.||awd.|
|Espérance de Tunis||3||3||6|
|Espérance de Tunis||1||0||1|
In the quarter-finals, the winners of one group played the runners-up of another group (teams from same group could not play each other), with the group winners hosting the second leg, and the matchups decided by draw.
|Team 1||Agg.Tooltip Aggregate score||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|CS Constantine||3–6||Espérance de Tunis||2–3||1–3|
In the semi-finals, the four quarter-final winners played in two ties, with the matchups and order of legs decided by draw.
|Team 1||Agg.Tooltip Aggregate score||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Wydad AC||2–1||Mamelodi Sundowns||2–1||0–0|
|Espérance de Tunis||1–0||TP Mazembe||1–0||0–0|
In the final, the two semi-final winners play each other, with the order of legs determined by the semi-final draw.
|Wydad AC||1–1||Espérance de Tunis|
|Espérance de Tunis||Abandoned (1-0)[note 1]||Wydad AC|
Espérance de Tunis were declared champions after second leg was abandoned.
Top goalscorers edit
|1||Themba Zwane||Mamelodi Sundowns||2||1||1||1||5|
|2||Trésor Mputu||TP Mazembe||2||1||1||4|
|Jackson Muleka||TP Mazembe||2||1||1|
|Mohamed Nahiri||Wydad AC||1||1||1||1|
|5||Ghazi Ayadi||Club Africain||2||1||3|
|Youcef Belaïli||Espérance de Tunis||1||1||1|
|Walid El Karti||Wydad AC||1||2|
|Meschak Elia||TP Mazembe||1||1||1|
|Kévin Mondeko||TP Mazembe||1||2|
|Jean-Marc Makusu Mundele||AS Vita Club||2||1|
|Justin Shonga||Orlando Pirates||2||1|
|Sid Ali Yahia-Chérif||JS Saoura||1||1||1|
See also edit
- With the score 1–0 in favor of Espérance de Tunis in the 59th minute, Walid El Karti scored a goal for Wydad AC which was subsequently ruled offside by the linesman. Due to a failure of the video assistant referee system, a review of the decision could not be conducted. Believing the goal was valid, Wydad AC protested the decision and the match was interrupted. After 80 minutes of stoppage, the referee ruled the match as a forfeit by Wydad AC and awarded to Espérance de Tunis, securing them the CAF Champions League title. However, on 5 June 2019 the CAF Executive Committee ordered a replay of the second leg at a neutral venue, requiring Espérance de Tunis to return the trophy and medals. However, the decision to order a replay of the second leg was thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on 31 July 2019, who required CAF to refer the case to its proper disciplinary structures for a decision. On 7 August 2019, Espérance de Tunis were again officially declared champions after the CAF Disciplinary Board ruled that Wydad AC "is considered to have lost the game in the 2nd leg." On 18 September 2020, CAS dismissed Wydad AC's appeal over the final and confirmed Espérance de Tunis as champions.
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