Johannesburg, Thursday @PeopleSports11
A club only promoted to Burkina Faso’s top division last year is poised to complete a CAF Confederation Cup shock when they take on big guns Al Masry of Egypt this weekend.
Salitas, from the Burkinabe capital city Ouagadougou, host last season’s semi-finalists Al Masry with a 2-0 aggregate lead after the first leg of their round-of-32 tie in Port Said last weekend.
It was a remarkable result as the West African country’s clubs generally perform poorly in continental competitions, while those from Egypt are often serious title contenders.
Clinical finishing and a string of brilliant saves from veteran Daouda Diakite led to the biggest surprise of this season’s Confederation Cup so far.
Salitas were given no hope when they travelled to Egypt to play Al Masry having struggled to get past Wakriya of Guinea, fellow debutants to African club competition, in the previous round.
Masry have struggled since losing coach Hossam Hassan after last season’s semi-final loss to V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo and are now in danger of making a shock early exit.
Rwanda’s Mukura Victory are well placed to secure a play-off place at the first attempt thanks largely to a watertight defence.
They kept two clean sheets in ousting South Africa’s Free State Stars and then held 2017 quarter-finalists Al Hilal Obied to a goalless draw in Sudan.
With home advantage, Mukura have the edge as they seek to emulate compatriots Rayon Sport, who last season became the first Rwandan qualifiers for the group phase.
Ivorians San Pedro did better than anticipated when they drew 1-1 with Kinshasa outfit Daring Club Motema Pembe in the DR Congo, tilting the odds on winning the tie in their favour.
Should 1994 African Cup Winners Cup trophy holders Motema Pembe be eliminated, DR Congo are unlikely to have any representative in the play-offs.
The Cameroonian outfit can thank Junior Ngongang for being in a favourable position to make progress after starting their campaign disappointingly.
New Star, from Atlantic port city Douala, were held to a goalless draw at home by Vital’O of Burundi in the preliminary round, but pulled off a shock 4-1 second-leg victory with little-known Ngongang the four-goal hero. -AFP