Champions League: a closer look at the semifinals

Champions League: a closer look at the semifinals
TP Mazembe skipper Joel Kimwaki

by Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Sep 22, 2015. 12:18

AfricanFootball takes a closer look at the two semifinal ties for the 2015 CAF Champions League, with the first leg matches set to be played in Omdurman this coming weekend.

Semifinal 1 – TP Mazembe (DR Congo) v Al Merreikh (Sudan)

First leg: 26 September 2015 – Al Merreikh Stadium, Omdurman – 21h00 CAT

Second leg: 4 October 2015 – TP Mazembe Stadium, Lubumbashi – 15h30 CAT

DR Congo giants TP Mazembe will look to take a step toward their fifth Champions League title when they tackle Sudan’s Al Merreikh in the first semifinal of the 2015 competition. Mazembe – the only semifinalist who were given a bye in the preliminary round – had to work hard to overcome Mamelodi Sundowns and Stade Malien in tough qualifying ties to reach the group stage. They then struggled to get going after successive goalless draws against Al Hilal and Moghreb Tetouan, but ended up winning the group. Al Merreikh have registered their best Champions League performance by reaching the final four and have grown in strength as the tournament has gone on, with their only loss in the group stage coming away to Group B winners USM Alger. The DRC side will start as favourites, but Merreikh have momentum and confidence behind them.

TP Mazembe – route to the semifinals

  • Preliminary round – give bye to the First round

  • First round – Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 TP Mazembe; TP Mazembe 3-1 Mamelodi Sundowns – TP Mazembe won 3-2 on aggregate

  • Second round – Stade Malien 2-2 TP Mazembe; TP Mazembe 2-1 Stade Malien – TP Mazembe won 4-3 on aggregate

  • Group stage – TP Mazembe 0-0 Al Hilal; Moghreb Tetouan 0-0 TP Mazembe; Smouha 0-2 TP Mazembe; TP Mazembe 1-0 Smouha; Al Hilal 1-0 TP Mazembe; TP Mazembe 5-0 Moghreb Tetouan – finished top of Group A with 11 points

  • Al Merreikh – route to the semifinals

  • Preliminary round – Azam 2-0 Al Merreikh; Al Merreikh 3-0 Azam – Al Merreikh won 3-2 on aggregate

  • First round – Al Merreikh 2-0 Kabuscorp; Kabuscorp 2-1 Al Merreikh – Al Marreikh won 3-2 on aggregate

  • Second round – Al Merreikh 1-0 Esperance; Esperance 2-1 Al Merreikh – 2-2 on aggregate, Al Merreikh won on away goals

  • Group stage – Al Merreikh 2-0 MC El Eulma; USMA 1-0 Al Merreikh; ES Setif 1-1 Al Merreikh; Al Merreikh 2-0 ES Setif; MC El Eulma 2-3 Al Merreikh; Al Merreikh 1-0 USMA – finished second in Group B on 13 points

  • Semifinal 2 – USM Alger (Algeria) v Al Hilal (Sudan)

    First leg: 27 September 2015 – Al Hilal Stadium, Omdurman – 20h00 CAT

    Second leg: 3 October 2015 – Omar Hamadi Stadium, Algiers – 21h30 CAT

    After very nearly falling to minnows Foullah Edifice in the preliminary round way back at the start of the competition, USM Alger have grown in strength to the extent that they enter the semifinals as the favourites to win the Champions League for the first time. The Algerians faced a tough group stage in which they faced two compatriot teams – MC El Eulma and reigning African champions ES Setif – and Sudandes giants Al Merreikh, but they dominated and claimed five wins from six matches, with their only loss arriving after they had already secured top spot. Sudan’s Al Hilal will be tricky opponents, with the ‘Blue Wave’ having held their own in a tough group. The Omdurman-based club has appeared in the Champions League final twice before (1987 & 1992) and reached the semis as recently as 2011. They will be eager to progress to the ultimate stage and possibly set up a historic showdown with compatriots Al Merreikh.

    USM Alger – route to the semifinals

  • Preliminary round – USMA 3-0 Foullah Edifice; Foullah Edifice 3-1 USMA – USMA won 4-3 on aggregate

  • First round – USMA 5-1 AS Pikine; AS Pikine 1-1 USMA – USMA won 6-2 on aggregate

  • Second round – USMA 2-1 AS Kaloum; AS Kaloum 1-1 USMA – USMA won 3-2 on aggregate

  • Group stage – ES Setif 1-2 USMA; USMA 1-0 Al Merreikh; USMA 2-1 MC E Eulma; MC El Eulma 0-1 USMA; USMA 3-0 ES Setif; Al Merreikh 1-0 USMA – finished top of Group B on 15 points

  • Al Hilal – route to the semifinals

  • Preliminary round – AL Hilal 2-0 KMKM; KMKM 1-0 Al Hilal – A Hilal won 2-1 on aggregate

  • First round – Al Hila 4-0 Big Bullets; Big Bullets 1-1 Al Hilal – Al Hilal won 5-1 on aggregate

  • Second round – Sanga Balende 0-1 Al Hilal; Al Hilal 1-0 Sanga Balende – Al Hilal won 2-0 on aggregate

  • Group stage – TP Mazembe 0-0 Al Hilal; Al Hilal 2-0 Smouha; Moghreb Tetouan 1-1 Al Hilal; Al Hilal 0-1 Moghreb Tetouan; Al Hilal 1-0 TP Mazembe; Smouha 1-1 Al Hilal – finished second in Group A on nine points

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