Friday night's Caf Champions League Preview: Wydad and Mazembe flirt with danger, while the Tunisian Derby promises fireworks

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Etoile du Sahel and Esperance enter into another grudge match, while TP Mazembe are in danger of elimination from the Caf Champions League.

Tunisian security authorities have allowed Etoile du Sahel to increase the number of fans who will attend Friday’s Caf Champions League quarter-final, second leg match at the Stade Olympique de Sousse.

An explosive encounter is expected in this derby tie which has been given the greelight to have the number of fans inside the stadium increased to 18 000 from the initial 15 000, according to Tunisia Press Agency.

Only Etoile du Sahel fans are allowed to attend the match for security reasons, after the first leg had exclusively Esperance fans watching at the Stade Olympique de Rades for similar reasons.

About 25 000 Esperance fans watched the first leg at Rades.

Esperance won the first leg 2-1 but Etoile could be confident of overturning that result following the away goal that they grabbed through defender Ammar Jemal.

And with the return of defender Ghazi Abderrazzak from injury as well as the availability of midfielder Yassine Chikhaoui Etoile could be feeling inspired for this clash although defender Rami Bedoui is injured.

Meanwhile, Esperance will be missing midfielder Saad Bguir who lasted just 42 minutes in the first leg before limping off the field.

South African referee Victor Gomes will handle the match.

In Lumbumbashi, Primiero Agosto will be pushing for at least a score draw against TP Mazembe who held them to a goalless stalemate in the first leg in Luanda.

Enjoying their maiden Champions League quarter-final appearance, Agosto are just 90 minutes away from making further history.

Storming into the semis at the expense of the five-time African champions TP Mazembe would undoubtedly make this Agosto’s best ever season.

Striker Geraldo is back from suspension and his availability could see him combine with DRC forward Mongo Bokamba, midfielder Mario Balbudia and Nigerian striker Akinfenwa Ibukun.

“The presence of Geraldo gives us greater depth in the attack. Let's explore our best weapons, in the weak points of the opponent, which we know very well,” Agosto assistant coach Ivo Traça was quoted as saying by Jornal de Angola.

Agosto arrived in Lumbumbashi on Wednesday and were greeted by TP Mazembe veteran forward Tresor Mputu’s war cry.

Mputu, who played the final 20 minutes of the first leg, is wary of an upset by Agosto as TP Mazembe need nothing short of victory to reach the semifinals.

“This time there is no room for a draw. We have to win to pass (through to the semis),” Mputu told his club’s official website.

“Victory, only victory is about this game. We know what is ahead of us on Friday. Without putting pressure on ourselves, we will get onto the pitch knowing that our opponents did not come here to lose.

“The road is still long to reach the final of this tournament. We must multiply our efforts in training to progress further,” he added. 

Elsewhere in Morocco, defending champions Wydad Casablanca would be keen to recover from the 1-0 defeat they suffered last weekend in Algeria

Wydad have been impressive at home after winning all their group games at their Stade Mohamed, including victory over Mamelodi Sundowns.

But they now face an unpredictable Setif who handed them their first defeat. 

With Setif having been beaten 4-1 by TP Mazembe and held 1-1 by Moroccan side Difaa El Jadida both away in group stages, Wydad could be confident from the fact that their opponents are not consistent on the road.

Senegalese defender Isla Diomande scored in the first half to separate Wydad and Setif in the first leg and the Algerians would have an advantage if they manage an away goal in Casablanca.

Setif striker El Habib Bouguelmouna could prove to be trouble for Wydad after some fine performances this season.

Title holders Wydad could be banking more on Ismail El Haddad, their top marksman in the Champions League this season so far.

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