Amakhosi hoping to benefit from Raja troubles

Amakhosi hoping to benefit from Raja troubles
Katlego Mphela of Kaizer Chiefs and Oulhat Mohamed of Raja Casablanca during the 2015 CAF Champions League football match between Kaizer Chiefs and Raja Casablanca at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban , Kwa-Zulu Natal on the 14th of March 2015 ©Sabelo Mngoma/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Apr 01, 2015. 13:08

Kaizer Chiefs will hope to capitalise on Raja Casablanca’s troubles when the teams meet for the second leg of their first round CAF Champions League tie on Sunday night at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca, kick-off at 21h00 CAT.

The first leg in Durban last month saw the Moroccan side claim a 1-0 win, putting them in pole position to advance to the last 16. The result could have been a totally different one had the Amakhosi capitalised on the numerous chances they created.

Instead they head to Morocco knowing that they must score at least one away goal to remain in the tie and prevent a second successive early exit from Africa’s premier club competition, having been eliminated in the second round by AS Vita of DRC last year.

Striker Bernard Parker is convinced the Soweto side can turn the tables on their North African opponents, citing the experience that he and the likes of Itumeleng Khune, Tsepo Masilela and Reneilwe Letsholonyane have of playing in Morocco – they were part of a Bafana Bafana team that drew 1-1 with the hosts at Stade Agadir in October 2013.

“After the game in Durban, we know now how [Raja] play,” Parker told his club’s official website. “We created numerous chances in the first leg. We definitely need to be sharper in front of goal in the second leg if we want to make a chance. However, we travel in a positive frame of mind to Casablanca. We are confident that we can get a result.”

As for Raja, they enter the game almost in a state of turmoil. They have lost back-to-back Moroccan league matches to slip to eighth on the log and have lost their last three matches at their own stadium – a shocking statistic for a team that was once considered virtually unbeatable in their own backyard.

In addition, striker Hamza Abourazzouk, who appeared as a substitute in the first leg against Chiefs, has been suspended until the end of the season due to disciplinary reasons, while Portuguese coach Jose Romao is reportedly on the verge of being fired.

The referee for the match will be Malang Diedhiou of Senegal, while the aggregate winners of the tie will advance into the second round to face either Real Banjul of the Gambia or Algeria’s ES Setif, the current Champions League title holders.

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