Caf Champions League: Esperance face Agosto and Al-Ahly in tough Setif challenge

Primeiro Agosto stormed into the semis after performing a giants-killing act on TP Mazembe, while Al-Ahly prepare for a tough task against ES Setif

Angolan champions Primeiro Agosto are gearing up for another giant-slaying act when they host Espereance in a Caf Champions League semifinal, first leg match on Tuesday.

After eliminating five-time champions TP Mazembe, Agosto would be on a high as they bid for a maiden appearance in the Champions League.

“We will reach the final of the Champions League,” Agosto’s Serbian coach Zoran Manojlovic told AFP.

“My players are very humble and very hard workers and we know more or less the strengths and weaknesses of Esperance.”

With striker Geraldo so far the star man for Agosto in the tournament, the Angolans have in their war chest a potent weapon.

DR Congolese forward Mongo Bokamba is another trump card for Agosto and sunk his compatriots Mazembe in the quarter-finals.

Goalkeeper Toni was the difference between Agosto and Mazembe, making crucial saves that ensured the passage into the last four.

But two-time African champions Esperance will certainly be no pushovers after booting out fellow Tunisians Etoile du Sahel with a 3-1 aggregate scoreline in the quarter-final.

Defenders Chamseddine Dhaouadi and Sameh Derbali as well as Ivorian midfielder Fousseny Coulibaly weighed in with important goals that sent Esperance into the semifinal.

Midfielder Maher Ben Sghaier will not make the trip to Luanda following his suspension for allegedly being involved in a bust-up with assistant coach Moine Chaabani recently, and subsequently sent to train with the reserve side.

Elsewhere in Cairo, Al-Ahly face what could be a tough task for them against ES Setif who eliminated defending champions Wydad Casablanca in the quarter-finals.

The fact that Setif sent Wydad packing has put Al-Ahly French coach Patrice Carteron in a cautious mood.

“We are prepared for a strong confrontation against an opponent who managed to reach the semis after defeating the current title holders Wydad of Morocco,” Carteron was quoted as saying by Egyptian publication Al-Ahram.

“Our campaign has been a successful one up to this point, but we must focus on each match individually, and our full concentration now is on the Champion’s League after we’ve completed our match in the Arab Cup.

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“We’ve studied the Algerian team well. It is a good team with talented players and also an efficient coach, but we have big ambitions to win with a good score in Cairo to make our mission easier in the return match.”

Egyptian international striker Marwan Mohsen, Saad Samir, Mohamed Naguib, Amr El-Sulya, Mido Gaber have been ruled out of the match due to injuries.

Setif’s last triumph in the Champions League was in 2014.

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