CS Constantine handed stadium ban reprieve; welcome back key players against Esperance

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Caf had ordered CS Constantine’s match against Esperance to be played behind closed doors as punishment for the behaviour of the Algerian club’s fans.

Club Sportif Constantine were given a boost with the news that striker Abdelfetah Ismail Belkacemi, midfielder Mounir Aichi and defender Islam Chahrour will all be fit for Saturday’s Caf Champions League quarter-final, first leg match against Esperance.

The timely return of the three regulars coincides with the news that Caf will allow Constantine fans to attend the match at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui.

Caf had ordered Constantine to play this match behind closed doors as punishment after their supporters caused excessive smoke from the use of flares in the group match against Club Africain, which they lost 1-0 at home.

This was their first defeat in this competition this season and they went on to lose the next match away at Tout Puissant Mazembe, to mark two straight Champions League defeats prior to Saturday’s confrontation with Esperance.

The Algerians had, however, defeated Mazembe 3-0 at home and coach Denis Lavagne believes that his side can record a similar result Esperance.

“I bet on the capacity of my players and if it is their day, they can beat the Esperance with a wide scoreline as was the case against TP Mazembe,” Lavagne was quoted as saying by Le Buteur.

“When my team rises to their true level, and on a good day, they can beat any opponent.

"We know what is ahead against Esperance and we know how to transcend and surpass ourselves.

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"I have studied the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. I bet on our strengths to destabilise the defence of Esperance and score a lot of goals to take a huge advantage ahead of the return leg in Tunisia. We have the capacity and the qualities to put Tunisians in difficulty.”

While Constantine are celebrating some positives ahead of this match, Esperance will be missing injured captain Khalil Chemmam and his fellow defender Sameh Derbali.

Ivorian midfielder Fousseny Coulibaly is also a doubt for this match