Tough away tasks for Kabylie, Mazembe

JOHANNESBURG— African Champions League pacesetters JS Kabylie of Algeria and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo put unbeaten records on the line this weekend.

By (AFP)

Published: Wed 25 Aug 2010, 1:43 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:55 AM

Group B leaders Kabylie, the only club with a 100 percent record at the halfway stage of the six-round group phase, are in Cairo to face record six-time winners Al-Ahly Sunday.

Reigning champions Mazembe confront Esperance of Tunisia in Rades 24 hours earlier as they continue a bid to become the first club to successfully defend the title twice.

Entente Setif of Algeria have home advantage over Dynamos of Zimbabwe on Friday and Ismailia of Egypt travel across the continent to meet Heartland of Nigeria Sunday in other fixtures.

Kabylie have already won a mini-league match in Egypt this season, edging Ismailia 1-0 last month against the run of play thanks to a mid-second half header from Essaid Belkalem.

But Ahly at the 74,000-seat Cairo Stadium are likely to be more difficult opponents especially after a stormy end to a 1-0 defeat by the Algerian side two weeks ago in Tizi-Ouzou.

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Mohamed Shawky thought he had snatched a late equaliser and when his close-range shot was correctly ruled offside by Togolese match officials, hell broke loose.

Egyptian footballers clashed with Algerian security staff and when calm was restored, ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Hossam Ghaly was shown a red card and is automatically barred from the return match.

The brawl came close to a year after two bad-tempered World Cup qualifiers between the countries triggered clashes between rival supporters, attacks on Egyptian businesses in Algiers and a diplomatic war of words.

“Beating Ahly was a huge achievement for us,” boasted Switzerland-born Kabylie coach Alain Geiger. “Our collective game gets better with each outing and now we have to go and beat them at their home.”

Mazembe bounced back from a disappointing home draw with Setif to overcome Esperance in the southern Congolese mining city of Lubumbashi despite the absence of suspended skipper Mabi Mputu and Guy Lusadisu.

Esperance did not impress in a previous home mini-league game, taking 82 minutes to score the match-winner against Dynamos through a Oussama Darragi penalty.

The ‘Blood and Gold’, whose only Champions League title came 16 years ago, stripped Nigerian striker Michael Eneramo of the captaincy this week after he shed his jersey celebrating a domestic league goal.

Eneramo and Wajdi Bouazzi are the Esperance dangermen, striking five goals each in the competition this year to share the lead with Mandela Ocansey from Burkina Faso club ASFA Yennenga.

Ismailia will seek a double over 2009 runners-up Heartland after a 1-0 home win while Dynamos are in a similar situation after a Wonder Sithole strike earned them maximum points against former champions Setif.

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