The 2018/19 CAF Champions League is in full swing this weekend and we pick the top three matches to follow on Saturday, 15 December 2018.
Stade Malien (Mali) v ASEC Mimosas (Ivory Coast)
Venue: Stade Modibo Keita, Bamako
Kick-off: 19h00 CAT
Referee: Youssef Essrayri (Tunisia)
Probably the pick of Saturday’s matches comes from Bamako’s Stade Modibo Keita, where a West African derby sees Stade Malien take on Ivory Coast heavyweights ASEC Mimosas. While the hosts, known as ‘Les Stadiens’, enjoyed a comfortable 5-0 aggregate preliminary round win over CAR’s Stade Centrafricaine, ASEC had a much tougher time of things against Gabon’s AS Mangasport (a narrow 1-0 aggregate triumph) and will hope that coming through that test has steeled them for what should be a thrilling clash.
Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) v ASC Diaraf (Senegal)
Venue: Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca
Kick-off: 20h00 CAT
Referee: Daniel Laryea (Ghana)
2017 African champions Wydad Casablanca begin their new campaign at home to Senegalese side ASC Diaraf tonight at the Stade Mohamed V. WAC got as far as the quarterfinals in their title defence earlier this year, before being knocked out by Algeria’s ES Setif. Diaraf, who hail from Dakar, only just squeezed into the first round by defeating Togo’s US Koroki on penalties in the preliminary round.
Orlando Pirates (South Africa) v African Stars (Namibia)
Venue: Orlando Stadium, Soweto
Kick-off: 20h15 CAT
Referee: Nelson Fred (Seychelles)
South Africa’s Orlando Pirates have serious pedigree in the CAF Champions League and will be determined to reach at least the group stage after ending a five-year absence from the top continental competition. They brushed aside Light Stars of the Seychelles in the preliminary round (8-2 on aggregate) but they may find Namibia’s African Stars (who overcame Volcan of the Comoros 2-1 on aggregate) a much sterner opponent.