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Can TP Mazembe roar back in the Champions League?

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TP Mazembe players line up before a past match. PHOTO/Mazembe
TP Mazembe players line up before a past match. PHOTO/Mazembe
  • Mazembe failed to make the group stages last season
  • They play Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets
  • North African teams also look to get into the groups

TP Mazembe will look to make the group stagesof the CAG Champions League after missing last season, and they will host Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets at home. Mazembe lead 1-0 from the first leg played in Blantyre last weekend, and will need in the least a draw to confirm their place in the group phase.

The five-time champions have struggled on the continent for the last few years, but are looking to make a statement especially with the African Football League coming up next month.

Mazembe had a disastrous campaign last season, dropping off the Champions League after losing to Uganda’s Vipers in the last qualification round. They didn’t fair well either in the Confederation Cup, where they failed to make it off the group stages.

Nyasa are hopeful of making a shock result in Lubumbashi. The team is home to the Kenyan duo of defenders Clyde Senaji and Collins Okumu.

Meanwhile, in other matches, Petro de Luanda will be at home taking on Mozambique’s UD Songo, carrying with them a slim 2-1 advantage from the first leg played away from home.

Petro looking at third consecutive appearance 

Petro are loking to book a third consecutive group stage slot and will need either a draw or any kind of win at home to make the next phase of the competition.

At the same time, North African giants Wydad Athletic Club, Esperance du Tunis, CR Belouizdad, FAR Rabat and Etoile du Sahel will be in action, seeking group stage berths in the CAF Champions League.

In Rades, Tunisian giants Esperance du Tunis will be at home, taking on AS Douanes of Burkina Faso, in what will be a definite tricky duel. They won the first leg 1-0 in Ouagadougou two weeks ago, and will be keen not to concede at home to complicate their chances.

Last year’s losing finalists Wydad Athletic Club will also face a tricky duel at home as they play host to Guinea’s Hafia. The first leg played in Conakry last weekend ended in a 1-1 draw, but the Moroccans will hope the single away goal will be a small cushion.

Esperance keen not to concede 

Just like Esperance, conceding a goal would be detrimental to their chase. A 0-0 draw will be enough to sail them into the next round, but a scoring draw of more than two goals would sail the Guinean side through.

Meanwhile, FAR Rabat and Etoile du Sahel will clash against each other in Rabat, with the home side faced with a task of overturning a 1-0 deficit from the first leg. The home side need an outright win to make the group stage, while a 1-0 win will take the game to penalties. Sahel will meanwhile seek to avoid defeat to make the next round.

In Algiers, CR Belouizdad host Bo Rangers of Sierra Leone, carrying a healthy 3-1 lead from the first leg played at home, and literally have one foot into the group stages.

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