Aduana Stars of Ghana made amends for the CAF Confederation Cup embarrassment caused by compatriots Asante Kotoko when they whipped Fosa Juniors of Madagascar 6-1 Sunday.
Former African champions Kotoko were eliminated in the preliminary round of the second-tier club competition after missing three of four penalties when playing at home.
Stars were awarded three penalties against Fosa and converted them all with Sam Adams successful twice and Zakaria Mumuni once in the first leg of a play-off.
Fosa are competing in Africa for the first time this year and began promisingly with Jose Randrianantenaina giving them a fourth-minute lead in western city Dormaa.
But Elvis Opoku levelled soon after and the two Adams spot-kicks brought Aduana a 3-1 half-time advantage.
After Mumuni scored his penalty in the second half, Opoku and Bright Adjei completed the rout with goals in the final five minutes.
The biggest victory margin of the 16 first legs virtually guarantees Aduana a place in the group stage ahead of the April 18 return match in Mahajanga.
Elsewhere, winning margins were closer with Al Hilal of Sudan taking a two-goal lead and ASEC of the Ivory Coast, Gor Mahia of Kenya and Djoliba of Mali building one-goal advantages.
Sadiq al Nour and Hussein Ibrahim scored within five minutes midway through the opening half to earn Hilal a 2-0 victory over Akwa United of Nigeria in Omdurman.
Akwa losing completed a miserable day for Nigerian challengers as Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) fell 1-0 at home to Djoliba in Lagos.
Mohammodou Cisse netted after 78 minutes to leave 2012 Confederation Cup runners-up Djoliba needing just a draw against the ‘Church Boys’ in Bamako to reach the mini-league phase.
Nigeria have four clubs in the play-offs, but only Enyimba look set to progress having forced a 1-1 draw with Wits of South Africa in Johannesburg Friday.
Plateau United edged USM Alger of Algeria 2-1 in Lagos the following day, but it is doubtful whether that slender lead will be sufficient to survive in north Africa.
Rwandan Jacques Tuyisenge converted a 78th-minute penalty to give Gor Mahia a 1-0 home win over 2017 Confederation Cup runners-up SuperSport United of South Africa in Machakos.
Former African champions ASEC won by a similar score at home to Belouizdad of Algeria with the only goal coming from Togolese Komlan Agbegniadan on 50 minutes in Abidjan.
When the clubs last met in the Ivory Coast 17 years ago, ASEC triumphed 7-0 to create a record winning margin for a CAF Champions League group match that still stands.
After the April 17/18 second legs, a seeded draw in Cairo will divide the 16 survivors into four groups.
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