CAF CL Preview: Asante Kotoko vs Etoile du Sahel

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Asante Kotoko will be aiming to put one foot in this season’s CAF Champions League group stages when they host Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.

The two-time champions overcame Kano Pillars of Nigeria 4-3 on aggregate to book their place in the final qualifying round. Now standing between Kotoko and a first group stage appearance in 13 years are Etoile, who have been crowned champions once in 2007.

Etoile reached this stage after securing a comprehensive 8-3 aggregate victory over Hafia Conakry.

What is the kickoff time? The match will start at exactly 15:00 GMT (3 pm). Current form of both teams: Kotoko – The Porcupine Warriors have been in good form competitively ahead of the fixture, winning three of their last five matches (W3 D1 L1).

The Porcupine Warriors overcame their bitter rivals Hearts of Oak 5-4 on penalties in the semi-finals of the NC special competition tier one.

They then went on to beat Karela in the final on penalties (4-1) after the match ended 1-1 in normal time.

Kjetil Zachariassen’s men were excellent against Kano Pillars in the second leg of the previous CAF Champions League qualifying round, recording a 2-0 win after going 3-2 behind in the first leg. The fans of Kotoko will hope the team produces another memorable performance at home on Sunday.

Etoile – Fawzi Benzarti’s men are currently going through a rough patch, winning only once in their past five competitive games (W1 D1 L3).

The Jewel Coast were recently knocked out of the Tunisian Cup by CS Sfaxien on penalties (5-4) and also lost 2-1 to Shabab Al Ordon in an Arabian Club Champions Cup tie.

They were, however, emphatic against Hafia in the previous round, beating the side 7-1 at home, completely overturning a 2-1 deficit in the first leg.

Team news: Kotoko – Coach Kjetil Zachariassen will have Augustine Okrah and Jordan Opoku available for selection after they missed both legs against Kano Pillars due to registration issues. Maxwell Baakoh is still training alone after recovering from a long term injury and will miss the upcoming fixture.

Etoile – Fawzi Benzarti will be without shot-stopper Walid Kreidan who underwent an abdominal muscle surgery in July and has not fully recovered from it.

Head to head record: The Etoile du Sahel players will go into the match with confidence as they have a superior record over their opponents. The Jewel Coast are unbeaten against the Porcupine Warriors in their last four matches (W2 D2) and will look to maintain that record this weekend.

Match Facts · Etoile Du Sahel have scored nine goals in their past five competitive matches. Asante Kotoko have scored seven goals in their past five.

· Asante Kotoko have scored at least a goal in their past seven competitive matches. Etoile Du Sahel have failed to score in two of their past four competitive matches.

· Etoile Du Sahel have lost three of their past five competitive matches (W1 D1 L3). Kotoko have only lost once in their past five competitive matches (W3 D1 L1).

· Asante Kotoko have failed to beat Etoile du Sahel in their previous four meetings, conceding a total of eight goals and scoring four

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