Johannesburg - Record eight-time title-holders Al Ahly of Egypt are virtually assured of a 2018 CAF Champions League group place after trouncing Mounana of Gabon 4-0 Tuesday.
It took the Cairo "Red Devils" just 14 minutes to end the last-32 first leg stalemate in the Egyptian capital as Marwan Mohsen scored and Moroccan Walid Azaro doubled the lead before half-time.
Egypt midfielder Abdallah el Said netted twice within three minutes midway through the second half with his second goal coming from a penalty kick.
Mounana will have home advantage in the return match during the weekend of March 16-18, but Ahly have never surrendered a four-goal lead during five decades of competing in Africa.
Ahly coach Hossam el Badry warned his team before the first leg that he did not want a repeat of last year when they battled to overcome Wits of South Africa at the same stage.
His message was heeded as the Red Devils dominated from start to finish, transferring into Africa their superb domestic form of 14 consecutive victories.
Ahly lost 2-1 on aggregate to Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the 2017 final -- the first time they have gone more than three years this century without winning the competition.
Assuming they eliminate Mounana, Ahly and 15 other last-32 winners will be divided into four groups from which the table-toppers and runners-up advance to the quarter-finals.
Former champions Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, the only winners of all five current and past CAF club competitions, also scored four goals at home in Mediterranean resort Sousse.
However, after grabbing three goals within seven minutes of the kick-off and a fourth soon after half-time they conceded twice to finish 4-2 winners over Plateau United of Nigeria.
The Nigerian goals from Ayagwa Raphael, off a penalty, and Tosin Omoyele during the last 20 minutes leave the tie delicately balanced ahead of the second leg in Jos.
Egyptian Amr Marey scored for Etoile within 60 seconds, Amine Chermiti bagged a brace and Aymen Sfaxi gave the 2007 champions a four-goal advantage nine minutes after half-time.
Plateau are competing in the Champions League for the first time and hope to become the first winners from Nigeria since Enyimba completed back-to-back triumphs in 2004.
Township Rollers of Botswana, who eliminated favoured Al Merrikh of Sudan in the preliminary round, sprang another surprise by winning 2-1 away to Young Africans of Tanzania.
Lemponye Tshireletso gave Rollers an early lead, Zimbabwean Obrey Chirwa levelled before the break and Motsholetsi Sikele struck the winner five minutes from time in Dar es Salaam.
Rollers, who never qualified for the group stage in eight previous attempts, need a draw at home to become the first club from Botswana to achieve the feat.
Sidy Diop netted in the first minute of stoppage time to snatch a 2-1 home win for Horoya of Guinea over Generation Foot of Senegal in a west African showdown.
Another 12 first legs are scheduled for Wednesday, including Wydad beginning their defence of the title at home to Williamsville of the Ivory Coast.