African giants require victories as Caf Champions League returns

The Caf Champions league resumes on Tuesday and enters match day three with interesting clashes on the cards

Record eight-time African champions Al-Ahly will be keen to pick themselves up following a horrible Caf Champions League start, when they host Botswana champions Township Rollers on Tuesday.

A shock 2-0 away defeat in Uganda by KCCA cost former Al-Ahly coach Hossam El-Badry and condemned the Egyptians to the foot of Group A.

This was after they had been held 0-0 at home by Tunisian giants and leaders Esperance in their opening game.

New coach Patrice Carteron now shoulders the responsibility of saving Al-Ahly’s campaign, starting with the Rollers showdown.

After a training camp in Croatia, where they drew 1-1 with Slovenian champions NK Olimpja Ljubljana before thumping Russian side Krasnodar 5-1, could give Al-Aly hope for a turn in their Champions League fortunes.

"French coach Carteron preferred to start the camp early to prepare the players well for the African meeting,” said the club in a statement on Saturday.

Two-time champs Esperance host KCCA as they seek to cement their grip at the top.

In Group B, TP Mazembe’s 100 percent record is under threat of Algerian giants MC Alger, who they host in Lumbumbashi.

Seeing off the usually difficult North African opponents in easy fashion, has placed five-time African champions TP Mazembe as favorites for another title since 2015.

A convincing 4-0 home victory over another Algerian side ES Setif and a 2-0 win over side Difaa El Jadida in Morocco has underlined TP Mazembe’s title intentions.

That would make second-placed MC Alger aware that the trip to Lumbumbashi could turn into a nightmare for them.

What also makes MC Alger’s visit to DRC is the form of TP Mazembe striker Ben Malango Ngita whose three goals in two games has lifted him up the top-scorers chart.

The meeting between El-Jadida and basement side Setifin Algeria is not much of a concern for the top two sides. Caf Champions League reigning champions Wydad Casablanca are on course to defend their title although they are tied on four points in Group C with Horoya, whom they lead by goal difference.

Their trip to Togolese champions Horoya on Tuesday will decide group leaders ahead of return fixtures.

Much like Group A, this pool is competitive with 2016 champions Mamelodi Sundowns travelling to Lome for a date with Port Togo who have lost all their matches so far.

Sundowns have shared spoils in both their two games and a win could shoot them up to position two.

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Group D leaders Etoile du Sahel travel to Swaziland to meet debutants Mbabane Swallows who has been enjoying a fine run.

The Tunisians have four points, similar to Swallows' who are on second spot due to inferior goal difference.

Primero Agosto and 2016 semifinalists Zesco United, who have a point each, clash in Luanda as they both seek to rejuvenate their campaigns.

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