Sports News of Sunday, 18 March 2018
Aduana Stars will battle E.S Setif in the return leg of the 2018 Caf Champions League last qualifying round at Stade 8 Mai 1945 in Algeria on Sunday, with the winner automatically making their way to the group stage.
The Ghana Premier League champions head into the fixture with a 1-0 advantage and will obviously be kicking themselves that they didn’t fetch more goals in the first leg even if they managed to avoid conceding an away goal from the Algerian side.
Setif, on the other hand, boast a formidable home record in the Champions League, where they are unbeaten at this stage in almost five seasons and score with ease as well. The 6-0 thumping of Olympique de Bangui from Central Africa Republic in the first round was a statement of fact.
Things don’t look well for Yussif Abubakar’s era at Aduana – as it appears to be coming to an end following consistent concerns from a section of the supporters and club administrators about his selections, substitutions and management of egos.
Elimination from the Champions League will add insult to injury for a coach.
There was a training ground bust-up last week between striker Derrick Sassraku and midfielder Elvis Opoku with the latter having a deep cut above his left eye but both were included in the squad to face Setif despite protests from some fans.
Also, there is a perception among many Ghanaians that Aduana will struggle to handle the intricate play by Setif, especially, since they are yet to score an away goal in the competition, with the Fire Club’s former coach J.E Sarpong even pessimistic about their chances.
“It’s over for Aduana Stars in the Caf Champions League. We have to be honest and tell them the truth,” Sarpong told Goal.
“For a club to progress to the group stage of the competition, they must win the first leg with a huge margin but what did we see in Dormaa Ahenkro? It took them a second-half penalty before they could even defeat Setif and per their records, they have not scored any away goal in the competition.
“There’s no way Setif will allow Aduana to eliminate them at their backyard especially when they have the chance to use all available means to qualify,” he added.
At home, Zakaria Haddouche and Akram Djahnit have scored five goals in-between them for Setif and Aduana’s back-four of Stephen Anokye Badu, Paul Aidoo, Caleb Amankwah and Tijani Ahmed must be extra cautious in marking them.