Accra Hearts of Oak will welcome AC Djoliba of Mali to the second-leg tie of the penultimate qualifying stage of the CAF Confederation on Sunday at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The Phobians defied all odds to win in Mali a fortnight ago with 10-men and have the opportunity to finish the Djoliba job in front of an expectant home crowd this Sunday.
Herbert Addo’s side are building a good record in this season’s CAF Confederation Cup. They have won four of their last five games in the competition.
Hearts pipped AS Police of Benin 1-0 in Accra before fighting to a brave goalless
draw in Cotonou .
Again, they went a step better by beating Olympique Ngor of Senegal both home and away.
The Phobians carried a slender 2-1 lead to Senegal, but gallantly, they turned it into a 2-3 victory on the land of Leopold Senghor to qualify for the round of 16 of the CAF Confederation Cup competition.
A fortnight ago in Mali, they went to Bamako, took a two-goal lead, and though Djoliba halved the deficit, they defended handsomely with 10-men after captain Robin Gnange’s expulsion.
Coach Herbert Addo has admitted that Gnange’s absence is a big blow for the side, but believes his side can find a perfect replacement for Sunday’s game.
“Missing Robin [Gnange] is a big blow but without him, we should be able to deal with the situation,” the Hearts boss said.
The Malians are coming into the game with nothing to lose or a lead to protect having lost at home, and so like wounded lions, they will be going all out to make it a difficult afternoon for the home side.
Sunday’s game is not a foregone conclusion for Hearts.
This is the first time in the CAF Confederation Cup series that Hearts are playing home in the second leg, and impressively, they are protecting an away lead.
The good news for the fans is that the last time Hearts came from Bamako with a 2-1 win, over Real Bamako in the Cup Winners Cup, some 25 years ago, the dribbling magician Mohammed Polo and Yaw Preko were on hand to make it a 4-1 aggregate win.
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