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Raja Casablanca seek to take charge of tight group in CAF Confederation Cup

The fascinating battle in Group A of the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup will continue on Sunday with just two points separating leaders Raja Casablanca and bottom-placed side ASEC Mimosas at the halfway stage of the round.

However, with top to host bottom this weekend, the pool could be turned on its head with Democratic Republic of Congo giants AS Vita Club to entertain Aduana Stars from Ghana in the other fixture.

There has been little to choose between the sides so far, and in a pool that could come down to fine margins, every point will be precious for the teams.

Just how much home support Raja will receive remains to be seen, as the club decided to increase ticket prices for the game in the hope that it can alleviate a cash-crunch the side is facing.

Raja are unbeaten in the competition this season and, along with Vita Club, are favourites to emerge from the pool. They can take a giant step towards doing that with a home win against the Ivorians.

They claimed a 1-0 victory in West Africa last time out and the smart money will be on them to repeat that feat.

The Moroccan side are coached by the Spaniard Juan Carlos Garrido, who led Egyptian club Al Ahly to the Confederation Cup title in 2014.

Two clear favourites have emerged from Group B in the form of Moroccan side RS Berkane and Al-Masry from Egypt, though the duo will clash on match day four in Port Said, where a draw might suit both.

They played to a goalless stalemate in the previous round and it would be no surprise if they cancel each other out again.

Al-Hilal will seek to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive as they travel to Mozambique to face bottom club UD Songo, who are entering last chance saloon in this campaign.

Group C is another extremely tight pool that is too close to call, where homeground advantage has been crucial to the sides.

Five of the six matches so far have been won by the home side - without their opponents even managing a goal - with the odd one out a 1-1 draw for Ivorian side Williamsville AC at Djoliba in May.

CARA Brazzaville are home to Djoliba on Sunday, while WAC host Nigerian side Enyimba. If the trend of home wins continues then it will become even tighter in the pool.

Enyimba currently lead with six points, followed by Williamsville and Djoliba with four each, and CARA with three.

Tanzanian side Young Africans will have a last chance to push for a quarter-final place when they host Gor Mahia, though the Kenyans humbled them 4-0 in Nairobi last time out.

Their build-up has been anything but smooth though with players boycotting training after the loss in Kenya over unpaid wages.

They returned to work this week, but coach Mwinyi Zahera knows it will be an uphill battle for his team.

"Our plans are in tatters because we couldn't train for almost five days because of economic hardship facing the club as players were demanding their salaries and signing-on fees. It is very hard for us," Zahera was quoted by CAF Online.

"We know that this game against Gor Mahia is the only chance to revive our hopes to go through the next stage. It is a must-win game and we need to work hard to make it happen.

"Gor Mahia is a good team and we have to be ready for them, but looking at our condition we cannot promise more."

Young Africans have just a single point from their three games and are bottom of he table. The pool is led by Algerian side USM Alger with seven points, followed by Gor Mahia with five and Rayon Sports with two.

USM host Rayon on Sunday having claimed a 2-1 success in Rwanda last time out.

The top two sides in each group advance to the quarter finals, while there will be a new champion this year with last season's winners Tout Puissant Mazembe from the DR Congo competing in the Champions League.

Ten clubs have lifted the title since the competition was first played in 2004, though none of them appear in the pool stages this year.

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