Caf Champions League preview: AS Vita fight for survival against Al Ahly, Asec Mimosas host Wydad Casablanca

AS Vita are keen to avoid elimination as they host Al Ahly, while Asec Mimosas are out for revenge against Wydad Casablanca.

AS Vita are desperate to escape elimination from the Caf Champions League when they welcome Al Ahly for a Group D match in Kinshasa on Saturday.

Three points separate bottom-placed AS Vita and leaders Al Ahly in one of the tournament's most closely-contested groups this season.

But the Congolese giants will be out of the tournament if they lose to Al Ahly and JS Saoura beat Simba SC in another Group D encounter.

Florent Ibenge’s men have won one, drawn one and lost two as they find themselves unfamiliarly anchoring this pool.

However, with sharp forward like Jean-Marc Makusu and Kevin Mondeko, who are amongst the competition’s leading goal-scorers, AS Vita have a potent arsenal they could rely on to claw their way up the group.

They could also draw inspiration from the fact that Al Ahly arrived in Kinshasa with a poor away record in this group campaign, where they have drawn 1-1 with Saoura and lost 1-0 to Simba in their last match on the road.

Al Ahly, on the other hand, will fancy their chances of an away victory or even a draw as they welcome back from injury chief forward Walid Azarou, Amr Al-Sulaya and Mahmoud Waheed.

The record eight-time African champions have been a severely-depleted side due to injuries but have still managed to cling onto top spot.

However, captain Hossam Ashour, veteran midfielder Walid Soliman, Salah Mohsen and Hamdi Fathi remain on the sidelines.

In the other Group D match on Saturday, Tanzanian giants Simba will be in the city of Bechar to take on their Algerian hosts Saoura.

Simba are in second position, just a point ahead of Saoura with both sides still in the race to reach the last eight of the tournament.

Also interestingly, the losing side in this match could find themselves at the foot of the group depending on what transpires in Kinshasa.

“We must make sure we get a good result away from home,” said Simba assistant coach Denis Kitambi.

The Tanzanians though have been bad travellers, twice succumbing to identical heavy defeats - 5-0 to AS Vita and Al Ahly on foreign soil.

Having beaten Saoura 3-0 at home in Dar-es-Salaam in their group opener, Simba could have a psychological boost going into this match.

Boasting veteran Rwandan striker Meddie Kagere who has been in scintillating form together with Zambian midfielder Cletus Chama and forward John Bocco, the visitors have some key players to bank on.

Elsewhere in the Ivorian capital Abidjan, 1998 champions Asec Mimosas host Wydad Casablanca in a Group A tie on Saturday.

This is another closely-contested group where leaders Wydad are three points ahead of basement dwellers Lobi Stars.

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After losing 5-2 to Wydad away in Morocco in the reverse fixture, third-placed Asec are out for revenge and will look to move up the table.

Nigerian star Michael Babatunde and Ismail El Haddad, who had a good game in the reverse leg between these two teams will be out to replicate that form in order to help Wydad maintain their lead.

But 17-year-old Burkinabe forward Abdoul Tapsoba has been a shining star for Asec and is already shouldering huge expectations that come with playing in the Champions League.