Egypt’s Al Ahli, record winners of the African Champions League, drew 1-1 with Zamalek on Sunday to finish top of their group and avoid a semi-final meeting with defending champions Esperance of Tunisia.
Winger Mohamed Barakat came off the bench to equalize for Al Ahli in the 64th minute of the Cairo derby against Zamalek, who led from a 43rd minute Mohamed Ibrahim goal.
The 1-1 draw means Ahli finished one point ahead of TP Mazembe Englebert of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who lost 1-0 at Berekum Chelsea of Ghana on Sunday, in the Group B standings.
Ahli, who have won six Champions League titles, now meet Sunshine Stars, playing away in Nigeria in the first leg on Oct. 6 and hosting the return in Cairo a fortnight later.
Had Ahli lost on Sunday they would have had to play Esperance, reviving a long-standing tempestuous rivalry.
Mazembe instead now play the holders in the other semi-final with the first leg in Lubumbashi and the return in Tunis on Oct. 20.
The final four clubs had already been decided earlier this month but the pairings were still up for grabs in this weekend’s final set of group games.
On Friday, Esperance failed in a bid to break Ahli’s record of 19 successive unbeaten matches in the Champions League after they lost 1-0 at bottom-placed ASO Chlef of Algeria in their last Group A encounter.