Ahly take on old foes Esperance in Champions League
Last updated on .From the section Football
Two of north Africa's biggest clubs clash on Saturday in Group B of the African Champions Leauge as Esperance of Tunisia host Al Ahly of Egypt.
In Group A Nigeria's Enyimba are in Cameroon to face Coton Sport while Morocco's Wydad Casablanca host Algeria's Mouloudia Alger.
All four matches on the opening weekend of action ended in draws.
Esperance beat Ahly in the semi-finals last year thanks to a clear handball goal from Nigerian Michael Eneramo.
Humiliated by TP Mazembe of the DR Congo in the final, Esperance have bounced back with many of that team and hit five unanswered goals past ASPAC of Benin and Diaraf of Senegal in home matches this season.
Ahly, who are chasing a seventh title, were less impressive in getting to the group phase with narrow aggregate victories over SuperSport United of South Africa and Zesco United of Zambia.
The Tunisians were the happier team after the opening Group B matches two weeks ago as they forced a 1-1 draw at Mouloudia Alger while the Egyptians were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Wydad Casablanca.
An abdominal injury rules Mauritanian Dominique da Silva out of the match in Tunis suburb Rades, adding to a casualty list that includes experienced midfielders Mohamed Barakat and Mohamed Aboutrika.
Defender Sherif Abdul-Fadil has been included in the Ahly squad despite a nightmare outing against Wydad as he conceded a first-minute own goal and his last-minute blunder gifted the visitors an equaliser.
Wydad boast a powerful strike force in Mouhssine Iajour and Congo-born Fabrice Ondama and will expect to collect maximum points Saturday when they host Mouloudia.
The Algerians are not in good shape as they narrowly avoided relegation from the national league 12 months after winning the title and financial problems triggered the resignation of coach Noureddine Zekri and the exodus of some stars.
In Group B, depleted Coton Sport did well to hold three-time champions Raja to a goalless draw and start as slight favourites against Enyimba.