Nigeria’s representative in the CAF Champions League, Lobi Stars, will be playing away to ASEC Mimosas at Stade Félix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan this Saturday.
This is the first-ever meeting between both sides and it is quite crucial.
While Lobi Stars got all three points in their opening group game against Mamelodi Sundowns, ASEC lost 5-2 in Casablanca to Wydad and will thus be gunning for a favourable result at home.
This season, ASEC Mimosas have kept clean sheets in four of their five Champions League fixtures and won all two matches in their 45,000-capacity ground located in Le Plateau district of the Ivorien economic capital.
ASEC won the CAF Champions League in 1998 when they beat Zimbabwe’s Dynamos FC 4-2 on aggregate in the final. That is their only triumph in the competition.
Among other tactics that would need to be deplored, Lobi Stars will have to tighten their defence particularly in the first half as past matches show that ASEC had scored in all their home fixtures within the first 45 minutes.
ASEC’s danger man is Abdoul Tapsoba who has two goals to his name in five matches.
The Pride of Benue, as Lobi Stars are called, are aware they need to be at their best in Abidjan and they have promised to put their best foot forward.
“We know ASEC are a very good side and we can’t judge them with the loss against Wydad,” Lobi Stars’ new recruit from Enyimba, Oluwadamilare Ojo, told CAFOnline.com. The midfielder was the man-of-the-match against Mamelodi Sundowns.
“Though we respect ASEC because of their pedigree and being former winner of the CAF Champions League, we would ensure we return Abidjan with a positive result.”
Lobi will hope that Sikiru Alimi will be in his elements. He converted three of the team’s seven goals in the campaign.
They will, however, miss the services of John Lawrence who will be serving a two-match suspension as a result of his involvement in an incident last December in Kenya when Lobi Stars faced Gor Mahia.
Coach Solomon Ogbeide believes his squad can build on their bright start against 2016 Champions, Sundowns.
“We haven’t won anything yet but we can now build on the victory against Mamelodi Sundowns to focus on the game against ASEC.
“We have a good spirit; and remains positive going for the game, and we are going to take the game to them in Abidjan,” Ogbeide assured.
In the other fixture of the group, Mamelodi Sundowns play host to Wydad Casablanca at the Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, also on Saturday.