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PREVIEW: CAF club competitions matchday two
The CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup enter the second matchweek with teams looking to break clear or get back in the race for the last four spots.
Favourites TP Mazembe travel to Morocco to face Moghreb Tetouan. The four times champions could only draw at home to Hilal and now face a tough battle knowing too well their woeful record in North Africa. Since clinching the title in 2010, Mazembe have only won once in eight away games in the Northern part of the continent; drawing twice and losing five times. Morrocan champions, Moghreb Tetouan, will have their work cut out having lost top scorer Iajour to Qatar Sc.
Group A’s other fixture sees Smouha hope to continue in the vein of their comeback victory over Tetouan as they travel to Omdurman to face, perennial near-men, Al Hilal.
In pool B, defending champions Setif fight for their lives as they play a second succcessive Algerian derby. This time away to neighbours MC El Eulma who also lost their opening fixture. USM Alger will not be too worrried about their coaching situation when they host Merreikh after their away win in Setif under caretaker management. They will be without midfielder Zinnedine Ferhat.
Despite their bar-setting win over Esperance, Al Ahly will be limping when they travel to face 2009 champions Stade Malien. Their key duo, Ashour and Soliman, are suspended on top of a host of other absentess. Nonetheless, they are defending champions and, now, used to succeeding in adversity thus they’ll be favourites in Bamako.
Group A will also see a Tunisian Classico; with Esperance looking to bounce back in Rades against Etoile Sahel. Taraji are expected to add newly signed duo, Ali Machani and Rejaibi to their CAF squad as they continue rebuilding. Etoile Sahel, meanwhile, will retain the services of Bounedjah on a six month loan deal after his new club, Al Sadd, had to contend with foreign players restrictions.
For the second successive time, Zamalek travel to South Africa to face an on-form Pirates in the midst of Ramadan. In 2013 they lost 4-1 in this situation. Zamalek coach Ferreira, who’s side are on the verge of league glory, said he expected a tough fixture against the remaining unbeaten side in the competition.
Having suffered defeats in their first fixtures, CS Sfaxien and AC Leopards will fight, in Sfax, not to fall too much behind in the race for semifinal spots. The latter famously knocked out Sfaxien on their way to confederations cup success in 2012 and will hope for a repeat victory this Friday.
CAF Confederation Cup
10th July, CS Sfaxien vs AC Leopards
11th July, Orlando Pirates vs Zamalek
11th July, Esperance Tunis vs Etoile Sahel
12th July, Stade Malien vs Al Ahly
CAF Champions League
10th July, USM Alger vs Al Merreikh
11th July, MC El Eulma vs ES Setif
12th July, Al Hilal vs Smouha SC
12th July, Maghreb Tetouan vs TP Mazembe