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09.05.2008 Sports News

Former champions face cup exit

By GBC News
Former champions face cup exit

The African Champions League has reached its decisive phase. Clubs which lose their ties over this weekend will drop into the Confederation Cup, and miss out on the money-spinning group stage. Club Africain, JS Kabylie and Asec Mimosas look the most vulnerable of the former winners. Games are spread across Friday, Saturday and Sunday - by Sunday evening we will know which eight teams are going into the draw on 17 May.

Friday

There are two matches on Friday and both Algeria's JS Kabylie and Club Africain of Tunisia must overturn big deficits if they are to go through.

Kabylie host Coton Sport of Cameroon, who won 3-0 in the first leg in Garoua.

Coton Sport are aiming to reach the group stages for the first time in their history.

The Algerians go into the game having secured their domestic title yet again, so Kabylie are already certain of a place in next year's Champions League.

Club Africain seem to have an impossible task, because they lost 5-1 in the first leg of their tie against Nigeria's Enyinmba .

Saturday

The Champions League title holders Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia were beaten 1-0 in the away leg of their tie against Zimbabwe's Dynamos . But they will surely be confident of overturning that scoreline in the home leg. Apart from the natural home advantage, the visitors will have had a torrid journey to north Africa.

After appealing for extra funds to allow them to afford to pay for the trip, they set off from Harare on Thursday evening, and were due to travel via Johannesburg and Cairo, before arriving in Sousse late on Friday.

The length of the journey and the lack of preparation time for the Zimbabweans make Etoile strong favourites for the tie.

Sunday

Last year's runners-up and five-time winners Al Ahly of Egypt must also overcome a first leg deficit from their tie against Platinum Stars of South Africa.

They lost the first leg 2-1 in South Africa and having secured an away goal, Ahly would normally be expected to ease past the visitors on home soil. But since securing the domestic title in Egypt they have been out of sorts, and some fans sense the possibility of an upset.

Ahly's great local rivals Zamalek , who have also won the title five times, have a 3-0 lead from the first leg of their tie with InterClube but must play the second leg in Angola. Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast are in Morocco having had a disappointing 0-0 draw against Olympique Khouribga in Abidjan.

Two times former champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo host Libya's Al Ittihad in Lubumbashi, and must turn round a 2-1 deficit from the first leg.

And South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns host Al Hilal of Sudan, needing to overcome a 4-2 defeat from the first leg.

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