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Aduana Stars Vs Raja Casablanca - Must win for the home side

Continental club competitions have always wooed football fans and growing up, I wasn't left out of the frenzy. Asante Kotoko's night at Santos, Kwadwo Poku's mazy run at Mahalla coupled with Kofi Asare Brako's radio commentaries sends chills down the spine on those nights. Of course, you can't discredit Ishmael Addo's goal at Esperance as Hearts went on to conquer Africa in the millennium year. Clottey's goal scoring prowess on this stage remains talking about. 

Aduana Stars Line-up
It's all back again! Kumasi and Accra has seen enough and it's time for Dormaa to have it's own share of history. It's Aduana's maiden group stage appearance at the CAF Confederations Cup and the Ogya boys can't fail. 3 home games during the qualifications and nine goals were scored with just one conceeded at Dormaa.  

The defending league champions of Ghana lost away to Asec Mimosas on matchday one of the inter-club competition and will seek nothing but victory when they face up with Raja Casablanca at Nana Agyemang Badu Park on Wednesday afternoon. 

The Moroccan giants haven't been so sweet this season. 10 points from their last 10 games in the Botola means they lie 6th on the log and are three points shy of an African spot. Aduana can't tell a different story as they currently sit 14th having gained 11 points from their 7 games played so far. 

What to expect from Raja

On the field of play, Aduana have a good enough team to discharge their Morrocan opponents. The Casablanca based club have adopted a different style of play under their Spanish manager, Carlo Garrido. The former Villarreal and Club Brugge manager spent 9 years with the Villarreal B and that underlines his game style. He is not the kind to rely on big names but makes names out of players. His team plays a blend of the possession football with quick exchanges and the use of long balls when necessary.  

Playing mostly through the wings where Boutayeb runs the right wing from defence with Hafidi the focal point on the left wing as an attacker. Aduana's goal conceeded at Abidjan saw Anane failing to stop a cross from the right side of the Asec attack which was coolly headed home by Ahmed Toure. Boutayeb offers such treat and as such Zacharia Mumuni should be able to take the ball to him often to prevent his surges upfront.  

Hafidi making a return from an injury suffered in the 2nd leg against Zanasco in the qualification games is likely to sit out with Hadraf who has played in his absence likely to see action again. They both have quick feet and will look to work the right channel of the Aduana defence. Their ambidextarity can't be taken for granted. 

In most away games, Garrido has gone with a three man midfield with Congolese Mabidi doing the tackles as veterans Obaddi and Achchakir do the passing and playmaking. Obaddi played for Monaco until 2014 and his trickery should be curtailed by Elvis Opoku to allow Noah Martey take charge of the centre play.  Achchakir would take up all the set piece duties but the same cannot be said of Gockel Ahortor for Aduana as he is likely to sit out.

In captain Benoun who stands at 6 ft 4inches, Raja have a target man once Achchakir whips in those set pieces. Elvis Opoku and Anokye Badu should be wary of giving out any fouls around the penalty box. 

Mabidi limped off in their last league game but Mohammed Diouk also returned to action in the same game. Diouk can provide the cover in his absence. Khadrouf can be used in there if there is the need to attack.
Mounir Obbaddi (right)  wins the ball from Lucas Moura( left)  as Richardo Cavalho looks on from behind
Upfront, Benhalib will look to score again away from home with his deadly partner Iagour. Iagour who won the Golden Boot and Bronze Ball at the FIFA Club World Cup in 2013 has scored 16 goals in the league this season and 3 in the qualification games. With 6 goals amongst them in the qualifiers,  Emmanuel Akuoku and Anokye Badu have good movement and trickery to deal with from the away forwards. 

Aduana Stars have been awarded 4 penalties in their last 2 African games at Dormaa and that speaks volumes of the attack they have built. In Nat Asamoah, Yahaya Mohammed,  Bright Agyei, Zacharia Mumuni, Ulrich and Sam Adams, the home side has a dream frontline. Both sides are yet to score a goal in the group stages yet. 

One would expect the home side to continue with their winning home run in African club games having played 5 and scored 10 previously. This will compliment their bad away form in the said games. Raja on the other hand have been free scoring in away games and will fancy their chances.

The home side is on a fairy ride and hopefully they won't let it end now. Such afternoons in Dormaa must be maintained. Socio-economically,  Dormaa is on the rise. The onus lies on them to replicate the Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko of the early 2000's or better still the Medeama and Chelsea runs quite recently. The past should be their guide. 

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