Johannesburg (AFP) – Victory for hosts Medeama of Ghana over Young Africans of Tanzania Tuesday will bring them into contention for a CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals place.
The clash of two goal-shy teams in Sekondi is among four midweek matchday 4 fixtures in the African version of the Europa League.
Medeama are third in Group A with just two points and two goals from three matches while Young Africans occupy bottom place with one point and one goal.
TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo — the equal second most successful club in CAF competitions with nine titles — have set the pace on seven points.
Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria, first-time participants in the group stage like Medeama and Young Africans, occupy second spot with five points.
But Bejaia are expected to lose away to Mazembe in Lubumbashi Wednesday, and could drop to third on goal difference if Medeama win convincingly.
Young Africans and Medeama drew 1-1 in Dar es Salaam this month in a match marred by woeful finishing from both sides.
“We will not make the same mistakes again,” stressed Medeama goalkeeper Daniel Agyei to the Ghanaian media.
He made a string of superb saves in Tanzania and is convinced his team are due a change of luck.
“This is a crucial match for us and there has been a major emphasis on scoring in our preparations. We must win to keep alive hopes of reaching the knockout stages.”
While it is difficult to imagine Young Africans qualifying for the semi-finals, Dutch coach Hans van der Pluijm insists his club are not out of the running despite two of their remaining three fixtures being away.
“Strikers win matches and one goal from three matches is unacceptable,” he told the Tanzanian media before the squad flew across the continent to west Africa.
“Our situation is precarious, but we cannot lose hope. Anything is possible in football and beating Medeama could close the gap behind Bejaia to a single point.”
Mazembe will qualify for the semi-finals if they beat Bejaia on an artificial pitch in southern DR Congo and Medeama and Young Africans draw.
A paltry eight goals have been scored in six Group A games and four of them have come from Mazembe, with Zambia captain and winger Rainford Kalaba bagging a brace.
FUS Rabat, shock winners of the 2010 Confederation Cup, can take a large step toward winning Group B if they complete a double over fellow Moroccan club Kawkab Marrakech.
Goals from Youssef El Gnaoui, Abdessalam Benjelloun and Mohamed Fouzair earned a 3-1 win in Marrakech and a one-point lead over Kawkab at the top of the table.
Title-holders Etoile Sahel of Tunisia are away to Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya and will be hopeful of securing maximum points again after two Alaya Brigui goals set up a 3-0 triumph two weekends ago.
A win over Ahly, who are hosting the game in Tunis for security reasons, could lift Etoile above Kawkab into second spot.
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