Étoile, Al Ahli battle for semifinal spot in Sousse

Al Ahly Tripoli player Mohamed Al Ghanodi (C) in action against Etoile Sportive player Zied Boughattas (R) and Aymen Sfaxi (L)

Bertin Basson

Friday Sep 22, 2017. 14:30

Étoile du Sahel and Al-Ahli Tripoli will cross swords in a 2017 CAF Champions League second-leg, quarterfinal showdown at the Stade Olympique de Sousse on Sunday evening.

The match on the Gulf of Hammamet will kick-off at 7:30pm CAT (6:30pm local time).

Étoile will be favourites to progress, but Al-Ahli will fancy their chances following a 0-0 stalemate in the reverse fixture last weekend. The match at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria was hotly contested, and a similar scenario is set to transpire in Sousse.

The first-leg was played at a neutral venue in Egypt due to political turmoil in Libya. This favoured the ‘visitors’, but they were unable to conjure an away goal as they ended the game with 10-men following Diego Acosta’s sending off.

As a result, the Brazilian forward – who has scored four goals in the CAFCL this season – will miss the second-leg clash.

Al-Ahli Tripoli will be aiming to take advantage of his absence in Sousse as they boast a star striker of their won. Muaid Ellafi has found the back of the net on six occasions in Africa’s premier cup competition this season.

ESS remain unbeaten in the CAFCL this season, having registered three wins and three draws on their way to topping their group. The 2007 champions average three-goals a game on home soil, but were held to a 1-1 draw by Al Hilal in Sousse – something their Libyan counterparts will be hoping to replicate.

Al-Ahli have made steady progress on their travels with a heavy defeat away to MC Alger followed by a 4-2 win over CAPS United in Zimbabwe. They rounded off their group stage campaign with a 2-2 draw against Zamalek to seal progression.

The aggregate winner will face a tough task in the semifinals as they will come up against either two-time champions Espérance de Tunis, or eight-time winners – the mighty – Al Ahly.

Zambian match official Janny Sikazwe will take charge of the match.

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