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CAFCL Preview: JS Kabylie (ALG) vs. Petro de Luanda (ANG)

Algerian club JS Kabylie have an excellent opportunity on Saturday to clinch a quarterfinal spot in the CAF Champions League when the club from Tizi Ouzou hosts Angolan champions Petro de Luanda at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers. A victory in front of their supporters will put Kabylie beyond reach of Petro and last placed AS Vita Club in Group A to join defending CAFCL winners Wydad AC. After reaching last season’s semifinals, Petro are desperate to keep their hopes alive with a draw or victory.

Kabylie continue to battle relegation from Algeria’s Ligue 1 Professionnelle but are enjoying a successful continental campaign so far. Miloud Hamdi arrived to become head coach of the team soon before Group A play started and the players have responded with good performance at home and away from home. The team showed fight to comeback from a goal at home to defeat AS Vita Club last weekend and now they need to finish the job of qualifying out of the group with another victory in front of their supporters. Hamdi said that his players are eager to make up for their poor domestic league performance by continuing their run in CAF competition.

Hamdi’s squad is not at full strength due to injuries. Defensive leader and central defender Badreddine Souyad continues to be unavailable as well as left back Sabri Cheraïtia and the status of important central midfielder Salim Boukhenchouche remains questionable. Moussa Benzaïd did well as a leader in the defense with the central defender scoring a goal against VClub and being named in CAF’s Team of the Week. Questions remain about the quality of the attack but last week’s victory will be encouraging after Algeria youth national team forward Massinissa Nait came off the bench to score a late match winner.

Petro, like Moroccan club Wydad when they travelled to Algeria last month, accused their opponents of poor treatment and the Angolan club submitted a complaint to CAF. The Girabola champions released a statement on their Facebook page as well as pictures of the bus that was given to them for travel with dirty and torn seats. Petro’s accusations come ahead of an important match where a draw or victory will put them back into contention for the quarterfinals after consecutive defeats to group leaders Wydad.

The club from the Angolan capital have a talented attack but are not performing to their best in Group A. Tricky wingers Jaredi and Anderson Cruz have failed to provide support for prolific striker Tiago Azulão and talented young forward Gilberto, which may see head coach Alexandre Santos bring in Brazilian Gleison. 18-year-old left back Pedro Francisco is impressing with his ability to get forward and appears likely to be in the eleven again over Tó Carneiro. Brazilian midfielder Willian Soares and Megue will line up in the middle of the midfield while Portuguese central defender Pedro Pinto anchors the defense.

More on both teams are in the links below.

Petro de Luanda lamenta falta de apoio em Argel (Jornal de Angola)
Liga: Petro na Argélia em luta pela continuidade (ANGOP)

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