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Preview of Friday’s CAF Champions League Match Day 2 Games

CAF Champions League enters match day two on Friday with four potentially enthralling fixtures lined-up across Africa.

CAF Champions League enters match day two on Friday with four potentially enthralling fixtures lined-up across Africa.

Four other match day two fixtures are set to be played on Saturday, a day that will also have CAF Confederation Cup second-round playoff action taking place.

Three wins and one draw were recorded with a total of 13 goals celebrated last Friday in the opening day of the group stage.

The groups are therefore expected to start taking shape in the second round of matches.

Esperance Vs FC Platinum

In one of the highlight match of the day, defending champions Esperance will host FC Platinum of Zimbabwe behind closed doors in a Group B match in Tunis.

CAF sanctioned the Tunisian giants for their fans behavior during last season’s final in November last year where the supporters attacked the Al Ahly team bus.

The two teams were winless in the previous round; Esperance were held 1-1 away by Guinea’s Horoya AC while FC Platinum played to a goalless draw against Orlando Pirates of South Africa in Harare.

The tie is billed as David versus Goliath encounter as Platinum, who qualified for the group stage for the very first time, will be up against Esperance, who are three times Africa champions.

FC Platinum’s coach Norman Mapeza has told local media that his charges are well aware of the pedigree of their opponents, but were, however, equally prepared despite the respect they have for the Tunisian giants.

“We know a lot about our opponents tomorrow (Friday). They are one of the biggest clubs in Africa; they are the holders of the title and well supported here in Tunisia with their good brand of football.

“However, we came here with a mission and the boys know what is expected of them and I just hope tomorrow we will have a good game and go back home with a positive result,” said Mapeza.

Orlando Pirates v Horoya

In another Group B match on Friday, Guinean giants Horoya travel to Johannesburg to face South African side Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium.

Both teams failed to register a good result in their respective opening matches: Horoya played to a 1-1 draw against defending champions Esperance while Pirates were held to a goalless draw away in Harare by FC Platinum.

The draws placed both teams on the second, third spot respectively and level on points with group leaders and defending champions Esperance de Tunis.

Pirates will look to their Zambian attackers Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga in the hunt for goals.

For Horoya, Burkina Faso attacker Ocansey Mandela Amamoo, who hit the back of the net for HAC against Esperance, is the man to watch for the visitors.

The Guineans will be welcoming back their dependable midfielder Daouda Camara from injury.

Speaking to his club’s official website, Camara has already vowed to do everything in his power to help his side tame the Sea Robbers.

“Every player likes to play such [Champions League] games, but unfortunately I was injured on the first day, which is why I did not play against Esperance.”

“I am very happy to be back in the group, I will fight hard to give the maximum of myself against Orlando Pirates. Currently the group is really at the top, since we are very united, [and] there is a total cohesion. That’s why I promise to do everything possible to help this club to take the three points for the first time in South Africa.”

Ismaily v Club Africain

Egyptian side Ismaily and Club Africain of Tunisia square up in a Group C fixture in Cairo as both sides seek to revive fledgling hopes in their groups.

Ismaily slumped to a 2-0 late defeat to Congolese side TP Mazembe away in the group opener, while the Tunisian side were stunned 1-0 at home by Algeria’s CS Constantine.

The Yellow Knights will be missing their defensive duo Mahmoud Metwally and Mohamed Magdy due to automatic suspensions. Also missing on the line-up is Hosni Abd-Rabou, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.

On their side, Club Africain will be desperate to claim a positive result to keep their hopes alive in the group, as a second defeat would minimize their hopes of advancing in the continental competition.

“Losing at home to CS Constantine was tough. But we have to carry on fighting and get a positive result from Ismailia,” Club Africain coach Chiheb Ellili told CAF’s official website on Thursday.

JS Souara vs Al Ahly

Record eight-time African champions Al Ahly of Egypt travel to Ageria for their second Group D outing against home-side JS Souara at Stade du 20 Aout 1955.

The Cairo giants head into the tie buoyed by the emphatic 2-0 win against TP Mazembe of DR Congo in Alexandria, last weekend.

JS Souara on the other hand succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to Tanzanian giants Simba away in Dar es Salaam on the same day.

The defeat left Saoura placed fourth on the group standings – three points behind leaders Simba, while Al Ahly lie in the second spot, behind the leaders on goal difference.

Saoura have performed poorly in their recent matches, having suffered three defeats in four fixtures. They have also failed to score in that run and are unlikely to trouble the Al Ahly backline.

Al Ahly have looked solid at the back lately having kept clean sheets in their last two matches. They also have plenty of quality in attack with the likes of Sobhi, Soliman and Mohsen and should be too strong for the hosts.

It is unlikely that Al Ahly coach Martin Lasarte will give a chance to newcomers against Saoura, such as defensive midfielder Hamdi Fathi and defender Yasser Ibrahim, who joined Ahly last week from ENPPI and Smouha respectively due to tournament rules.

“We have some new faces that are still making their way in the team,” Ahly’s coach Lasarte told CAF on Wednesday.

“Many key players are absent due to injuries and we will do our best to find suitable replacements,” he said.

“I believe all the players will give everything to return from Algeria with a positive result.”

For Saoura, their president Mohamed Zerouati has already predicted a tough game against Ahly, though he believes his side is capable of earning a positive result against the Cairo giants at home.

“The continent knows who Ahly are. It is a great club that has won many titles, but we are ready for any challenge and I think we will earn a good result against Ahly,” Zerouati told reporters on Thursday.

“We have a dream in the continental competition and we will fight to realize our targets,” he concluded.

Most football analysists have already predicted Al Ahly to win tonight clash as the visitors have won nine of their last 14 matches in the CAF Champions League.

Saoura’s poor record in front of goal means the Egyptians are also tipped to keep a clean sheet.

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