African Champions League semi-final spots up for grabs
Last updated on .From the section Football
The three teams to join Nigeria's Enyimba in the semi-finals of the African Champions League will be decided this weekend with the final round of group matches.
Al Ahly of Egypt know they must beat Group B leaders Esperance of Tunisia by two goals in Cairo on Friday to guarantee a place in the last four.
If the Egyptians do get that win and Morocco's Wydad Casablanca win in Algeria against Mouloudia Alger, then Esperance would miss out altogether.
The Cairo 'Red Devils' have won the competition a record six times, but a weary, ageing squad have found the going tough lately with just one win in five group games.
With teams finishing level on points separated by head-to-head records, there are various permutations which mean Esperance, Wydad and Ahly are all capable of topping the table.
The Group B winners will avoid playing the in-form Enyimba in the semi-finals.
Ahly board member Khaled Mortagey told BBC Sport that he is confident his side will advance.
"Hopefully this will happen and if we play the same way we did with the support of 100,000 spectators in the Cairo stadium, which I believe is going to be the case, I think we can do the job," he said.
Cameroonian Joseph Yannick N'Djeng scored the only goal when Esperance defeated Ahly in Tunis two months ago and the US$960,000 replacement for Nigerian Michael Eneramo is proving a profitable investment.
He scored a hat-trick last weekend in the rout of Mouloudia and this will not have escaped the attention of wily Portuguese coach Manuel Jose, who has led Ahly to four of their six African Champions League titles.
Wydad must hope Mouhssine Iajour, scorer of five goals in the tournament so far this year, can atone for some timid finishing against Ahly when he faces an Algerian defence that is far more effective at home than away.
Mouloudia have conceded 10 goals in their three away games and just two in two matches at home.
Former champions Enyimba cannot be overtaken in Group A, leaving Coton Sport of Cameroon and Al Hilal of Sudan to fight for second place while Raja Casablanca of Morocco will finish bottom.
Coton Sport lead Hilal at the moment with a better head-to-head record and also have the back-up of a better goal difference.
So the 2008 runners-up from Cameroon will go through provided they can match whatever result Hilal achieve at Raja on Sunday in their game away to Enyimba.
That could prove difficult, though, for the Cameroonians as they have already lost at home to Enyimba and must play in Aba, a south-eastern Nigerian city where few visiting football teams escape defeat.