African Champions League enters semis stage with Al Ahly taking on ES Setif in a North African derby and Club Desportivo 1 de Agosto hosting Esperance de Tunis Tuesday.
Round of four debutants de Agosto entertain two-time champions Esperance in the first kick-off match at 11 November Stadium, Luanda Angola.
To book the semis berth, the army-backed side edged out five-time champions TP Mazembe on away goal’s rule after forcing a 1-1 draw in Lubumbashi.
The first leg in Luanda ended in a barren draw.
Having achieved the historic feat, Serbian manager Zoran Manojlovic is baying for more blood and has declared that “we will reach the finals of the Champions League.”
No Angolan side has ever gone further than the semi-finals in the Africa’s top most interclub championship.
“My players are very humble and hardworking and we know or less the strength and weaknesses of Esperance,” he added.
Tunisia’s Esperance will be gunning for a fifth appearance in the finals since 2012 when they lost to Al Ahly of Egypt.
Their last title came the previous year against Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.
On the road to the semis, the Tunis-based giants beat domestic rivals Etoile du Sahel 3-1 on aggregate.
Al Ahly vs ES Setif
Setif travel to Cairo, Egypt for the other semis fixture of the day at Al-Salam Stadium.
Like Esperance, Setif are also chasing an elusive third African title since their last in 2014 and will be hoping to break the long wait this campaign.
Setif did the unthinkable, eliminating defending champions Wydad Casablanca at the quarterfinals stage and will be buoyed by the feat heading into this clash.
Satif’s manager Rachid Taoussi is a live to the tough task ahead but wants to get a result that will ease their burden in the return leg.
“It’s a tough mission to play away against Al Ahly, but we came here to get a good result that makes the return leg an easier job.
We know everything about them, they are a good team and have experienced and talented players,” he said.
His equal opposite Patrice Carteron made almost similar sentiments.
“We respect Setif much. They are a big and well experienced team. We will do our best to achieve a good result in the first leg.
Setif changed a lot since I faced them with Mazembe, but we are ready to get a convincing result,” the Frenchman said.
Ahly are the record Champions League winners with eight titles, the last coming in 2013.
The road to nine aborted last year at the finals where the Red Devils lost to Wydad Casablanca and Carteron was purposely brought in to correct this.
Club Desportivo 1 de Agosto Vs Esperance de Tunis – (17.00 hrs, CAT)
Al Ahly – ES Setif – (21.00 hrs – CAT)
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