Thursday Feb 21, 2019. 13:00
Ismaily will look to claw back some ground in Group C of the CAF Champions League when they host CS Constantine at the Ismaila Stadium on Saturday, 23 February 2019, kick-off at 18h00.
The Egyptian side were thrown out of the competition last month when CAF sanctioned them for supporter violence in their home game against Tunisia’s Club Africain.
However, Ismaily appealed the decision and won their case, being re-instated to the premier continental tournament. They must now make up the two Matchdays they have missed before the regular schedule resumes on 8-9 March.
‘El Daraweesh’ come into the clash with zero points to their name from their first two matches, having gone down 2-0 away to TP Mazembe and 2-1 at home to Africain (though there is some uncertainty over the latter match, as it was stopped before the final whistle).
Manager Cedomir Janevski will be eager to see his team roar back into contention, though they will have to do so without the aid of supporters, as the game will be played behind closed doors as part of their punishment from CAF.
Constantine, meanwhile, are well placed in the group after securing back-to-back wins over Africain (1-0 away) and Mazembe (3-0 at home).
They are placed second with six points, one behind the DR Congo club, but hold two games in hand and will be confident of returning to the head of the table sooner rather than later.
CSS coach Denis Lavagne has turned up the heat heading into this match by declaring that CAF dealt with the Ismaily situation in an amateur manner – and he has criticised their decision to allow the Egyptian side back into the tournament.
He and his charges from Les Sanafirs will certainly expect a hostile reception, even if the game will be in an empty stadium.
This will be the first of back-to-back matches between Ismaily and Constantine, with the return game set for the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium next Saturday, March 2.