Cape Town - The second round of group stage fixtures for the 2015 CAF Champions League will be played this coming weekend, and African football fans will be wondering whether more surprises are in store from the premier continental tournament.
The action gets underway late on Friday night in Algiers where home side USMA host Sudan’s Al Merrikh. The teams presently top the Group B standings after their opening wins over ES Setif and MC El Eulma respectively.
The second Group B match is a must-win Algerian derby between MC El Eulma and ES Setif at the Messaoud Zougar Stadium on Saturday night. This is especially true for reigning champions Setif, who cannot afford another loss, particularly in a second successive derby game against one of their compatriot teams.
Later on Saturday night (in fact, into Sunday morning on CAT) Moghreb Tetouan of Morocco and DR Congo giants TP Mazembe meet at the Saniat Rmel Stadium in Group A. Neither side managed a win in their opening fixtures last month, making this clash a key one in their respective hopes of progression to the semifinals.
Finally, on Sunday night in Oumdurman, Egyptian rookies Smouah will be given a stern test by hosts Al Hilal. Smouah currently top Group A after their 3-2 win over Tetouan last month, but Hilal will be confident of a home win, especially after their fighting 0-0 draw away to Mazembe, which was a morale-boosting result for the Sudanese giants.
Champions League fixtures (times CAT):
Friday, 10 July
Group B – USM Alger v Al Merrikh, Omar Hammadi Stadium, Algiers, 23:30
Saturday, 11 July
Group B – MC El Eulma v ES Setif, Messaoud Zougar Stadium, El Eulma, 23:30
Sunday, 12 July
Group A – Moghreb Tetouan v TP Mazembe, Saniat Rmel Stadium, Tetouan, 00:00
Group A – Al Hilal v Smouah, Al Hilal Stadium, Omdurman, 21:00