Al Hilal will play host to Asante Kotoko in Group C opening game of the Caf Confederation Cup at Al Hilal Stadium on Sunday. The Ghanaian representatives would have to defy all odds and probably repeat their away win feat against Coton Sport of Cameroon to snatch a favourable outcome.
Kotoko are yet to record a defeat on the road so far in the competition, however, their impressive defence could be put to test by Hilal who are enjoying a bright campaign in the local league.
|Game||Al Hilal vs Asante Kotoko|
|Date||Sunday, Febraury 3|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Live Match Centre||TV Channel|
|Goal.com||GBC (Sports Plus)|
Squads & Team News
Al Hilal seem not to have any injury concerns ahead of the game. Defender Samawal Mergheni and midfielder Boubacar Diarra were reported to have picked injuries in the away victory over Al Ahly Shendi in the Sudan Premier League on Monday but they trained fully with their teammates on Friday and will likely start the game.
Possible Al Hilal starting XI: Jamal Salim, Mergheni, Ariwachuku, Boya, Abdullah, Diarra , Shigel, Shiboub, Mukhtar, Maranhao, Mbombo
Kotoko will welcome back Augustine Sefah after serving his suspension. Meanwhile, defender Abass Mohammed has been ruled out of the game due to injury.
Frederick Boateng is also sidelined due to paperwork for his reported move to Egyptian club Petrojet. Songne Yacouba will have another opportunity to break his duck after going four games without a goal in the competition.
Possible Kotoko starting XI: Annan, Frimpong (c), Sefah, Agyemang-Badu, Ganiyu, Bonsu, Gyamfi, Senanu, Yacouba, Safiu, Baakoh
Kotoko coach Akonnor expects his charges to avoid defensive blunders against Al Hilal in order to avoid the situations that led to the two goals conceded against Coton Sport in Cameroon.
Most of the players in Kotoko's current squad will be making their debut in the group stage of the Caf Confederation Cup, except second-choice goalkeeper Muntari Tagoe who was part of the Medeama team that made history in 2016.
"The players are aware that a single mistake could lead to a defeat so I hope we will avoid too many mistakes on Sunday," Akonnor said.
"We are here to play our normal game and return to Ghana with a good result. I know the best team will win this game," he added.
Al Hilal, who appear to be brimming with confidence ahead of the clash, were in the same group with Kotoko in the maiden edition of the Caf Confederation Cup in 2004. Hilal defeated Kotoko 2-0 at home only to lose 3-0 in the reverse fixture.
Despite the intimidating atmosphere of their home ground, Hilal lost 2-1 against visiting Merreikh El-Fasher last weekend in the local league. Kotoko could draw some inspiration from that.
Elsewhere in Zambia, Zesco United will host local rivals Nkana FC in Group C's other game also on Sunday.