Caf Confederation Cup Preview: Etoile, Sfaxien resume rivalry as Nkana and Zesco cross swords in Copperbelt derby

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The Caf Confederation Cup group stage enters the penultimate round of matches as the battles for quarter-final spots hot up

RSB Berkane are looking to cement their position at the top of Group A when they host AS Otoho on Sunday.

The Moroccans are the only side currently with a wider gap at the top (three points) amongst all the other group leaders in this campaign.

Knowing very well that at least a draw will send them through to the quarter-finals, Berkane have the odds staked on their side as they enjoy an unbeaten run as well as having held AS Otoho 1-1 away in Owando in the two sides’ group opener.

Togolese forward Fo-Doh Kodjo Laba has continued with the fine form he had for Berkane last season with crucial goals this term, including a brace and an assist away at holders Raja Casablanca.

Also in Group A, Raja Casablanca are still searching for their first win as they welcome Moroccan rivals Hassania Agadir at Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah.

Raja are enduring a rough run in this competition in which they are yet to taste victory in four games and placed at the foot of the group with just three points.

This is a must-win for Raja if they are to entertain any hopes of defending the Caf Confederation Cup.

Despite Raja's struggles, chief forward Mouhssine Iajour is enjoying some good form as he is among the tournament’s top scorers.

Elsewhere, the Copperbelt derby returns with Nkana and Zesco clashing in a Group C tie in Kitwe.

This is a potentially stormy affair as both the Zambians are coming from defeats in their last games are in the bottom two.

Bottom-placed Zesco have gone for three straight games without winning and are desperate to win against a Nkana side that has won all their games at home this season.

Also impressively for third-placed Nkana, they enjoy an astonishing home record in African competitions, having avoided defeat for 36 years in a run that has spanned over 59 matches.

Nkana’s Ghanaian defender Richard Ocran is expected to return from suspension while Kenyan defender Musa Mohammed is out injured.

Zesco on the other hand welcome back midfielder Kondwani Mtonga from suspension while the striking partnership of Lazarus Kambole and Jesse Were could carry the day for George Lwandamina’s side.

In Group B, leaders Etoile du Sahel travel to second-placed CS Sfaxien in this Tunisian derby at Stade Taieb Mhiri.

It is a grudge match for Etoile who lost to Sfaxien 1-0 in the reverse fixture at home in Sousse.

Just a point separate these Tunisian rivals with Sfaxien having been hard done by sharing spoils in their last three games and failing to score in the last two games.

Midfielder Mohamed Iheb Msakni has been in top form for Etoile who on a two-match winning run while winger Alaa Marzouki has been shining for Sfaxien.

In a Group D match to be plated in Luanda, Petro Atletico are keen to rise from the foot of the table as they host leaders NA Hussein Dey.

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Having lost 1-0 to Zamalek in their last match at home, Atletico could have inspired confidence in Hussein Dey who might have arrived in Luanda knowing that the Angolan giants are not invincible in their own backyard.

But Beto Bianchi’s Atletico could be dangerous since they are wounded, having failed to win in their last two games.

Atletico forward Antonio Felix Va is expected back in the team from injury, while Brazilian striker Tiago Azulao and his compatriot Toni are some of the players, who carry the hosts’ hopes.

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