Al Ahly EgyptWith the lucrative group phase of the CAF Champions League just three games away, there is plenty at stake for the 32 clubs involved in this weekend’s return legs of the first qualifying round. Most of the favourites take a comfortable lead into the game, but for a few there is still some work to be done. And for the outsiders left in the competition, there is the dream of knocking out a fancied club. The eventual winner of the competition will represent the continent at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco at the end of the year.

Match of the week
Al Ahly–Tusker FC
Taking a 2-1 lead from the away leg into their match in Alexandria against Tusker FC, the seven-times champions Al Ahly are favourites to advance to the second round. The Egyptian team could be without influential midfielder Hossam Ashour, who did not play in a mid-week match due to tooth problems. There was some good news though as coach Hossam El-Badry welcomed back experienced defender Sayed Moawad, who was out for several months with a foot injury. Their opponents though, are confident that they can become the first Kenyan team since 2001 to go through to the final qualifying round. No Kenyan side has ever won in Egypt, but captain Joseph Shikokoti is cautiously optimistic. “I am certain that we will have a good game. I am hoping that everything turns out right,” he said. “The squad is in good spirits, so we shall see.”

Other matches
One of the favourites who face a tough hurdle are five-time champions Zamalek, who take a slender 1-0 lead into their away match in Congo DR against AS Vita Club. The in-form visitors are looking towards 21-year-old striker Mohamed Ibrahim and Ahmed Gaafar, who scored the winner in the first leg, to keep them in the competition. Four-time winners TP Mazembe won their away leg in Botswana against Mochudi Centre Chiefs 1-0, and are thus favoured to advance to the next round. Among the other first-leg victors were 2008 finalists Coton Sport, who won 1-0 in Côte d’Ivoire against AFAD Djekanou, and Stade Malien, who won 2-1 at Senegalese club Casa Sport. Read more

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