On Tuesday night, Matsatsantsa will need to fend off a tricky TP Mazembe at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. SuperSport will be brimming with confidence following their valiant draw in Lubumbashi but they could possibly be distracted by their participation in the Nedbank Cup final on the weekend.
Nonetheless, SuperSport assistant coach Kaitano Tembo has maintained that they are fully focused on the clash. Once again, the Zimbabwean is expected to take charge of the team in Stuart Baxter’s absence as the Briton winds down his affairs at SuperSport.
Meanwhile, SuperSport have had a stellar campaign so far, and they currently find themselves joint top of their group alongside their opponents Mazembe and Horoya AC, making victory tantamount on the night.
Although, the Tshwane club earned a valuable draw in the reverse fixture, the SuperSport coach was not entirely pleased with his team’s performance after they fell two goals behind, and Tembo hopes that this time around they will be less erratic.
“I think we were intimidated and unsettled there in the first 20 minutes,” Tembo told The Star.
“But we settled down and realised they can be beaten and we forced them to make mistakes with the way we played our game. The crowd turned against them at some point and it favoured us as the away team. Sometimes that is the disadvantage of having such a huge following.
“I know that we will be a lot calmer and more settled this time around because the conditions are different when we play at home, obviously,” Tembo added.
Now, with one eye on Saturday’s final, Tembo is expected to make several changes to his squad. SuperSport under Baxter, have chosen to give their fringe players some much needed game time during the tournament, and on Tuesday, it is expected to be no different.
Nevertheless, SuperSport will also need to be wary of the Congolese giants, who have several household names in the squad. Yet again the SuperSport defence will need to be at their very best to deal with the attacking threat of Tresor Mputu and Rainford Kalaba.
In other midweek action, Stars will host Tunisian side CS Sfaxien on Wednesday night in a must-win encounter. Dikwena are currently bottom of their group with a solitary point, and victory is essential if they are to give themselves any chance of progressing in the tournament.
It has been a poor campaign for Stars, who are yet to register a victory and have conceded eight goals in their last three encounters. Most recently, Stars suffered a 3-0 hammering at the hands of the Tunisians, which subsequently led to coach Cavin Johnson’s dismissal. In an effort to steady the ship, the Rustenburg-based club have enlisted the services of former Botswana international coach Peter Butler.
Despite Stars’ campaign resting on a knife’s edge, they will favour their chances against Sfaxien. North African sides are generally not as fierce as they are in their own backyard, which certainly gives Stars some hope going into the clash.