CAF Cup holders in danger of early exit

HOLDERS CS Sfaxien are in danger of early elimination from the African Confederation Cup today when they take a slender lead to Algeria for the second leg of their second-round tie against JSM Bejaia.

The Tunisian club managed just a 1-0 win in the first leg at home last month and are now vulnerable away in the return match.
The return of Blaise Kouassi, the Ivorian-born striker who was a major part of Sfaxien’s triumph last year, offers hope of staving off an aggregate defeat for the Tunisian club.
Tunisia’s other representative in Africa’s second club competition, Esperance, are also on the verge of an even more embarrassing departure, 3-1 down against second division opposition ahead of today’s return leg.
Esperance were beaten away in the first leg by Rachad Bernoussi, the second division side from Casablanca who qualified for the competition by finishing runners-up in Morocco’s Throne Cup last November.
The loss continued a dramatic dip in form over the last two years for Esperance, who over the last two decades had been perennial challengers for major continental club honours.
“We were accused of being too confident going into the first leg,” said Esperance coach Youssef Zouaoui. “But I reject that. We are always vigilant when we play away in another country.”
Ahmed Ammouri, president of the unheralded Moroccan outfit, said victory over Esperance would be a big windfall for the club, both financially and psychologically. “It would allow us to move up to a new level and a chance to become a top side,” he told Moroccan newspapers this week.
Also under threat are AS V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Kinshasa-based club who were held to a goalless draw at home in the first leg of their tie against Express of Uganda. — Reuters.

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