CAF Champs League semi-finals preview

CAF Champions League takes a look at the two first leg semi-final clashes which will be played tonight. Ahly take on Algerian side ES Setif in Cairo, and Primeiro host Tunisian giants Esperance in Luanda.

Al Ahly v ES Setif
Since Frenchman Patrice Carteron took over, Ahly have found their form on the continent. After picking up just one point in their first two group matches – including the 2-0 loss to Ugandan side KCCA – Carteron replaced Hossam el Badry and they went on to top Group A on 13 points, two ahead of second-placed Esperance.

The Egyptian giants failed to score in their first two group matches, but then scored an impressive nine goals in four matches. In the quarter-finals they were ruthless on home soil, winning 4-0 against Horoya in the second leg after the first match ended goalless in Guinea.

Setif, who conceded nine goals in six group matches, will have to be organised defensively to keep out the hosts tonight. The Algerians kept two clean sheets in the quarter-finals against dethroned champions Wydad Casablanca, so they will be hoping to do the same against Ahly.

Walid Azaro is the man to watch on the Ahly side, while El Habib Bouguelmouna is Setif’s go-to man.

Primeiro v Esperance
Primeiro are only the second club from Angola to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League and will be determined to become the first to qualify for the final.

The hosts’ main concern heading into the first leg semi-final is that they have not been lethal in front of goal. They’ve scored 13 goals in 12 matches in the competition. Nine of those 13 goals, however, have been scored at home, so this should give them reason to believe that they can get a good result in their backyard tonight and take a healthy lead.

They’ve done pretty well defensively on home soil, with four clean sheets in six matches.The tricky part is that they face an Esperance side that has not lost a game away from home in this year’s competition.

Primeiro will be banking on their top scorer Jacques Bitumba, who has four goals, and Esperance can rely on Anice Badri, a player with six goals in the competition thus far.