Al Hilal SC Omdurman face a daunting trip to face Tunisian side Esperance in Friday’s TotalEnergies CAF Champions League clash determined to beat the odds and recover from defeat last time out.
The Sudanese side were defeated in their opening Group C match last week when they lost 1-0 on their travels against Petro de Luanda of Angola.
They face Tunisian side that are confident thanks to their 2-0 home win against their oocompatriots Etoile du Sahel 2-0 in the group’s other game on the opening weekend of the group stage last week.
Unable to host matches in war-torn Sudan, Hilal must take on the former African champions Esperance on ‘home’ soil at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The displacement has proved testing, as coach Florent Ibenge outlined: “We’ve been in an unfortunate situation not able to play home matches where we are used to our fans pushing us to the limit.”
Yet Ibenge, who knows Esperance well, insists his team will play without fear against the Tunisian giants despite losing to Angola’s Petro Atletico on matchday one.
“However we are looking for nothing short of a win against Esperance a team I know so well even though we clearly know they are a big side in Africa we will play with pleasure to win and not pressure to concede,” stated Ibenge at the pre-match press conference.
Midfielder John Manu echoed his coach’s optimism, suggesting Hilal can utilise their unfamiliar settings to motivate an upset.
“We did not start the competition well but we are very optimistic as the playing unit that we have a chance to upset Esperance here In Dar Es Salaam,” said Manu.
“We know it will not be easy but we are determined to use our disadvantage of playing our home matches away and turn it to a winning advantage ”
Playing with freedom could aid the Sudanese outsiders on their difficult quest to overcome Esperance’s quality.
Esperance are top of Group C wirh three points, while Hilal’s zero points place them third.
Meanwhile, Petro de Luanda are sitting second on three points. Etoile du Sahel are fourth on zero points.