Nigeria's Kano Pillars have said they will be gunning for maximum points in Sunday's CAF Champions League clash against Zesco United of Zambia at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
Pillars are now under more pressure in their quest to be crowned African champions this year, after Group A rivals, Al Hilal of Sudan, defeated compatriots El Merriekh 3-1 on Friday in Omdurman.
The result has already booked Al Hilal their passage to the semi-finals, as they have so far recorded 10 points from five matches, while Pillars have seven points from four matches. Zesco have five points.
"I'm surprised by the result on Friday because I'm still convinced El Merriekh are a better team. Al Hilal won against our wishes, it would have been better for us had Merriekh won this game," Pillars Slovenian coach Ivo Sajh told Goal.com.
"This means Al Hilal have qualified for semi-finals and it means that we have to win our matches against Zesco and also El Merriekh in Sudan.
"We must win on Sunday and to top the group, we also have to beat El Merriekh in Sudan. No team has beaten Zesco in Zambia and I don't believe Al Hilal can in their last group game."
Second choice goalkeeper Nobas Omoregie will stand in for the suspended Theophilus Joel, while skipper Bala Mohammed, who was outstanding as a libero, will keep his place and play alongside Muarice Chigozie, who has served out his own suspension.
Hilary Chukwu will also fill in on the left side of midfield for Mohammed Shagari, who was picked for the country's squad to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt later this month.
Pillars are yet to win a game away from home, but Sajh said he is confident this will change when they tackle El Merriekh on September 19 in Sudan.
"I'm not satisfied with our record away from home. But we will be a big team and rise to occasion in Sudan because the players will grab a lifetime opportunity and win there. They must die on the pitch, if not they are not fit to wear the jersey of Kano Pillars.
"I'm convinced that with discipline and hard work, we will be African champions. The boys are hard workers, fighters and they now understand where we are going to.
" Also, we are capable of getting results away from Kano, if only the referees can be fair, but at the same time, we know that a referee cannot score a goal and everything is in our hands.
"My trust is with my team, one for all, all for one. I can put my hand in the fire for these players."
Samm Audu, Goal.com