CS Sfaxien – Vita Club
Vita Club had enough chances at home in Kinshasa to travel to Tunisia firmly in control of their tie, but poor finishing sees them arrive in North Africa with a 2-1 aggregate advantage. Having failed to win any of their five opening matches on the road during this campaign (losing three and drawing two), the Black Dolphins secured a massive victory in their final group game away from home when they beat Egyptian club Zamalek 1-0. Ugandan international Yunus Sentamu, who scored the only goal of the match in Alexandria, said the win gave them plenty of confidence. “We know we can win in North Africa, and I think we can qualify for the final,” he said. Sfaxien coach Philippe Troussier is hoping to become only the second French coach to lead an African club to the title. His job will not have been made any easier by the fact that he will probably still be without Mahmoud Ben Salah and Yassine Khenissi, who both missed the first leg through injury.
With the elimination of North African heavyweights Zamalek, Al Ahly and Esperance, four-time winners TP Mazembe took over the mantle as tournament favourites. But Les Corbeaux will have to come from behind if they want to eliminate Algerian club ES Setif. The big-spending club from Lubumbashi boasts an enviable home record in the competition, having last lost a game at home in October 2009. Since then, they have won 18 games and drawn just two. Mazembe defender Yaw Frimpong believes his side can bounce back from the defeat in Algeria saying: “To win we will we have to be disciplined, work hard, defend well and score goals." ES Setif can look at their own run in the competition as they are the only undefeated club remaining this year. Their coach Kheredine Madoui admits that it will be a tough game in front of the Congolese fans. “What awaits us in the second leg promises to be very hard but it will be a big game for both teams.”
Player to watch
El Hedi Belameiri's move to ES Setif last year raised some eyebrows. Even though the striker had been scoring regularly for his French amateur club Amneville, there were those who doubted whether he would be able to reproduce the form in a championship-chasing professional club. The 23-year soon put the doubters to shame as he continued his goalscoring form for his new club in the CAF Champions League. Belameiri scored three times in the qualifying rounds and then added another three in the group stage. He is joint top scorer and Setif will be looking for a goal from him as they defend a 2-1 from the first leg away to TP Mazembe.
12 – The number of games that Algerian club ES Setif have been unbeaten in the Champions League. The last club to win against the North Africans were AC Leopards, who won 3-1 in the first leg of the final qualifying round in 2013. Since then, Setif have played 12 games, winning seven and drawing five. They have scored 21 goals and conceded just eight.
What they said
“There were a lot of positive things in the first game. The only thing missing was the result. I believe that there will be no excuse on Sunday, we just have to know deep in our heart that we must win. I repeat, there will be no excuses,” Mazembe's Zambian international midfielder Rainford Kalaba
Have your say
Can Vita Club hold onto their lead from the first leg and TP Mazembe come back to set up the first-ever Champions League final contested between two clubs from the same country? Currently, CAF is the only Confederation that has not seen a final between teams from the same country in their respective Champions Leagues.