Football

CAF Champions League winds up group phase this weekend

Ahly players celebrate one of the goals in a past match
  • All groups have already been decided apart from Group A
  • Al Ahly face Al Hilal of Sudan in the decider in Cairo
  • All other groups will be battling for top spot finishes

The group phase of the CAF Champions League will conclude this weekend, with the qualified teams to the quarter finals more or less decided.

There will only be one more team to be confirmed when Group A’s second placed team, defending champions Al Ahly face off with Al Hilal of Sudan in Cairo.

The Red Devils are second in the group with seven points, three ahead of Hilal.

They just need a draw to progress. Hilal on the other hand need a win to go through as they will edge out the holders on head to head record, having drawn 0-0 when they played in the first leg in Omdurman.

Ahly will be without defender Mohamed Abdelmonem who picked up an injury that required surgery on international duty while playing for Egypt against Senegal in the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup.

Meanwhile, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, who are already assured of a place top of the group play another Sudanese side, Al Merrikh in their final group match.

Group B battle between Raja and Setif

Rachid Taoussi, the Esperance coach feeds instructions

Leaders Raja Club Athletic play host to ES Setif in Casablanca in the final Group B match just needing a draw to finish top of the group.

Raja beat Setif 1-0 in Algiers when the two sides met in the first leg and the Algerian outfit will be keen for revenge.

The Algerian outfit have been in imperious form in the group phases, winning four of their five matches, their only blemish being a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Horoya AC in Conakry.

But, they will look to wind up the group phase in style and with a win to top the table and land a favourable draw in the quarter finals.

Setif on the other hand are seeking victory at a very tough Casablanca Stadium. They have lost twice in five matches and are keen to ensure they don’t add another red flag in their group phase stats.

In the other fixture, Horoya and AmaZulu face off in Conakry for bragging rights and a better finish. AmaZulu are third with six points and could affirm their place with just a draw while Horoya are looking to win at home to swap places.

Can Belouizdad shock Esperance at home?

CAF Champions League group phase

Esperance

Esperance and CR Belouizdad, both locked at 11 points face off in Rades in the final match of Group C. The home side are seeking to finish the group phase strong at home and win assures them top spot.

The Tunisian giants have been in good form this season and having drawn 1-1 in the first leg away from home, they will fancy their chances infront of their own home crowd.

Esperance have not lost in the group phase, winning three matches and drawing two, the same statistics as Belouizdad.

They have scored 10 goals but their biggest strength has been their defense which has allowed only one goal in five matches, the 1-1 draw with the Algerians away from home.

Whoever wins on Friday will finish top of the group, while a draw of more than two goals will see the Algerians topple Esperance for top spot.

In the other fixture of the group, Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy will look to bow out with at least one win when they play away to Etoile du Sahel.

Jwaneng have lost four of their five games and the only positive result they had was a home draw against Etoile.

Wydad, Petro battle for Group D supremacy

CAF Champions League group phase

Wydad players celebrate a goal in a past match

Wydad Athletic Club and Petro de Luanda also face off in a top of the table clash at the Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca, seeking for the top spot in Group D. Wydad top the group with 12 points, Petro second with 11.

Petro beat Wydad 2-1 when they met in the first leg in Luanda and the Moroccan two-time African champions will be in for revenge.

The Algerians will look towards the home crowd for support, having been allowed fans now for the third game.

Petro on the other hand come into the tie beaming with confidence, having not lost a game in the group phase of the competition. A win in Morocco will assure them of a top spot and ultimately a favourable draw in the quarter finals.

Meanwhile, Zamalek who have been under achievers this season face off with GD Sagrada Esperanca in a match that will be reduced to a battle of bragging rights.

The Egyptian White Knights have been a pale shadow of themselves this season but will look to finish strongly especially playing at home.

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