Although the four semi-finalists in the CAF Champions League have been decided none of the four teams have finalised their position in the two groups. Both will come down to head-to-head clashes, with the two semi-finalists from Congo DR – TP Mazembe and Vita Club – facing each other in Kinshasa in Group A, while ES Setif travel to Tunisia for their Group B match against CS Sfaxien. The winners of the competition will represent the continent at the FIFA Club World Cup at the end of the year.
Match of the week
Vita Club – TP Mazembe
Very few fans would have thought at the beginning of Africa's most prestigious club competition that the two Congo DR sides, who already made history by both advancing past the second round, would have made sure of a place in the semi-final with a game to spare. Both teams are on ten points, but four-time African champions TP Mazembe lead Group A on goal difference and will keep top spot if they avoid defeat in Kinshasa. Mazembe coach Patrice Carteron said that they will go all out for the win. “We have already qualified, but we want to finish with a good match. It'll be a tough game against the surprise team of this group, who did a magnificent job with their good win at Zamalek. We would like to finish top of the group as this will allow us to play the return leg of our semi-final in Lubumbashi," he said. Mazembe prepared for their game against Vita with a week-long trip to Zambia where they played a number of friendlies.
The other Group A match sees Egyptian club Zamalek travel to Sudan for their final group game against Al Hilal. Both clubs have just four points from the five games they have played and will be hoping to end their campaign on a high note. Zamalek have lodged a complaint with CAF about the involvement in the competition of Vita Club striker Taddy Etekiama, who plays for the Rwanda national team under a different name. If the complaint is successful, the match between Al Hilal and Zamalek could offer both teams a chance to grab an unexpected place in the semi-finals.
In Group B Tunisian club CS Sfaxien defend their top place at home against Algerian underdogs ES Setif. The home side lead the group on ten points – one more than Setif. Sfaxien coach Philippe Troussier, who has taken the team to two wins in the Champions League since taking over and saw the team beat AS Dejerba 5-0 in the Tunisian league midweek, says he is aware that there is some work to be done. “We have some shortcomings in the offensive and we need to address these.” The other group game sees Tunisian giants Esperance face Al Ahly Benghazi. The Libyan club sensationally knocked out the defending champions Al Ahly from Cairo in the knock-out stages, but failed to win enough points to continue their fairytale run. Esperance, who were among the favourites to lift their third title, have recently dismissed coach Sebastien Desabre after losing their opening game in the domestic league. Former player Khaled Ben Yahia will be in charge of the Blood and Gold against Ahly.
Player to watch
Ghanaian international Solomon Asante has been in fine form for four-time champions TP Mazembe this season. He scored his sides' second goal and made the first as Mazembe beat Al Hilal 3-1 in their last match to be guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. The midfielder was rewarded for his efforts with a call-up into Kwesi Appiah's Black Stars side as the west Africans play Uganda and Togo in two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month.
5 - The number of games that Congo DR club Vita Club have won at home in a row in the Champions League. Vita won both group games at home, as well as the three matches in the knock-out stages this season.
What they said
“We managed a great feat in reaching the semi-finals. At the start I was very nervous what would happen to us, especially since our team had lost 12 players who were the backbone of the team, but we never give up.” Entente Setif coach Kheirredine Madoui, who is the first Algerian coach to reach the last-four of the Champions League.
Have your say
Which Congo DR team has the advantage in the national derby to determine the Group A winner?