Caf Champions League preview round-up: Third match day battles

The third match day of the 2013 Caf Champions League group stage will take place this weekend, with four fixtures played across the continent

For the first time in this phase, all eight teams participating in this year’s Caf Champions League group stage will be on duty during the weekend in the competition’s third match day, each with a possible path to the knockout stage.

Group A

Saturday August 17, 2013

Orlando Pirates (South Africa) - Zamalek (Egypt)

Egyptian giants Zamalek have their backs to the wall at this stage and need to react positively in order to bounce back into the competition before it is too late. With just one point recorded from two games, the White Knights will attempt to deliver against host team Orlando Pirates, who are current leaders of Group A with four points. However, the Buccaneers, who handed Egypt’s other representatives and defending champions Al Ahly a 3-0 away drubbing two weeks ago, appear to still be thirsty for more.

AC Leopards (Congo) - Al Ahly (Egypt)

Newcomers AC Leopards are growing in confidence as the competition progresses. After humbling Zamalek at home 1-0 earlier on and winning the Congo Cup a week ago, the Beasts from Niari are confident of another exploit on home turf against Al Ahly on Sunday. However, conscious of the consequences of another loss in a row, the Red Devils will attempt to impose their favourites status, but may suffer the absence of key striker Ahmed Abdul Zaher, who picked up a red card against the South African side.

Table: 1.Orlando Pirates 4pts (+3), 2.AC Leopards 4pts (+1), 3.Zamalek 1pt (-1), 4.Al Ahly 1pt (-3)

Group B               

Sunday August 18, 2013

Coton Sport (Cameroon) - Recreativo de Libolo (Angola)

Coton Sport are fresh from a lone-goal win over Ivorian side Sewe Sport while Recreativo were beaten 3-1 by the same Sewe team. The Angolans, who kicked off by stunning Esperance 1-0, will endeavour to atone for their huge loss against the Ivorians by overwhelming their Cameroonian visitors who can however create another surprise at this stage of the competition.

Sewe Sports (Cote d'Ivoire) - Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia)

Sewe Sport coach Rigo Gervais has vowed to win all his home matches but after losing 1-0 away to Coton Sport, observers say the team still lacks sharpness upfront. They could suffer that handicap against fast-flowing Esperance at home in Abidjan on Sunday. The Blood and Gold coach Maher Kanzari says his side will keep improving with every match after their loss in the first match, which they blotted out at home with a 2-0 win against Cameroon’s Coton Sport in the second match day.

Table: 1.Esperance 3pts (+1), 2. Sewe Sports 3pts (+1), 3.Coton Sport 3pts (-1), Recreativo de Libolo 3pts (-1)