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CAFCL Preview: AS Vita Club (DRC) vs. Petro de Luanda (ANG)

Kinshasa club AS Vita Club makes their return to the CAF Champions League group stage on Saturday when the Muscovites host Angolan champions Petro de Luanda in their Group A opener. Due to CAF not approving VClub’s home stadium, the Stade des Martyrs, last season’s runners-up in the DR Congo’s Linafoot will hold their home matches in the capital of neighboring country the Republic of Congo. Les Dauphins Noirs receive a Petro team who made a major impact in last season’s CAFCL by reaching the semifinals but failed to achieve the desired result in their Group A opener last week with a 0-0 home draw against Algeria’s JS Kabylie.

The stadium issue was the dominant point of discussion over the past few weeks for VClub and Congolese football. Linafoot rivals TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi offered their stadium for VClub’s use but the Kinshasa club preferred to hold their CAFCL home fixtures in Brazzaville because of its proximity compared to Mazembe’s location on the other side of the DRC. The Muscovites played a couple of friendly matches in Brazzaville to prepare for Saturday’s encounter due to the Linafoot being out of action.

There is plenty of talent in the VClub squad, who are currently undefeated in domestic league play and hold a nine-point lead through eleven matches played. Togolese midfielder Marouf Tchakei is one of the most highly regarded players in Congolese club football and will be the playmaker who is counted on to set up the team’s young and talented attackers. Erick Kabwe, Kikasa Wamba and Jérémie Ebuyi are examples of who to look for in the VClub attack while an experienced defense is led by 39-year-old captain Ebunga Simbi as well as a capable goalkeeping corps.

Petro de Luanda are led by coach Alexandre Santos who guided the club to its greatest heights in CAF club competition last season before falling to eventual African champions Wydad AC in the semifinals of the 2021-22 CAFCL. Following their scoreless draw in Luanda against Kabylie the pressure is on Os Tricolores to earn a result in Brazzaville so that they do not fall behind the pace in Group A. Petro currently sit at the top of Angola’s Girabola and have aspirations to repeat their accomplishments from last season.

Tiago Azulão is the focal point of the Petro attack and the veteran Brazilian poacher is clinical when scoring opportunities are presented. Azulão has plenty of support from Petro’s group of talented wingers that features Angola national team attacker Jaredi, an unpredictable and explosive winger who leads the attacking unit in assists this season. Yano is another capable forward as well as Brazilian winger Gleison who continues to be impactful after showing his quality last campaign. Portuguese center back Pedro Pinto and Angolan national Quinito have formed a successful partnership and Petro’s talented Angola national team fullbacks Tó Carneiro and Eddie Afonso are experienced and quick when moving forward.

More on the match is below.

CAF LDC : les raisons du choix Brazzaville pour VClub (Foot RDC)
Petro procura primeira vitória na Liga dos Campeões (ANGOP)

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