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If the “do or die” cliché will ever have utmost relevance to Ghanaian champions Aduana Stars, it has got to be now.
On Sunday, the Fire Boys host Ivorian outfit Asec Mimosas in their penultimate match of the Caf Confederation Cup group stage at the Nana Agyeman-Badu Park, a game where nothing but three points will suffice for the home side.
As things stand, Aduana sit third on Group A’s table, four and three points adrift of first-placed Raja Casablanca of Morocco and second-positioned AS Vita Club of Congo DR respectively.
Only one point separates the Fire Boys and rock-bottom Asec.
The need for three points, apparently, cannot be stated enough, more so as a dreaded final matchday trip to Morocco lurks.
Kenichi Yatsuhashi’s side’s away form remains nothing to write home about, but their home performances so far, although not flawless, suggest that a win on Sunday may not be too much to ask for.
In Africa this season, Aduana started their home campaign with a 2-0 triumph over Libyan outfit Al-Tahaddy in the Champions League, before just pipping ES Setif of Algeria 1-0, a narrow result they would ultimately rue as the North Africans scored four unanswered goals at home to send the Ghanaians packing to the inferior Confederation Cup.
A 6-1 annihilation of Malagasy side Fosa Juniors in the Confed Cup playoff round looks scarily ruthless on the face of it, but the quality of opposition somewhat downplays the score-line on second thought. And following a disappointing 3-3 draw with Raja on matchday two, the Fire Boys brought back smiles in Dormaa with a narrow 2-1 victory over Vita Club.
Aduana are always assured of unflinching support in Dormaa, but to win this one, the battle will have to go beyond the twelfth man.
That Asec let in three goals away at Vita and four at Raja can only be considered good news.
Kenichi masterminded a famous home win on his first game in charge of the club – the triumph over Vita - just a week after assuming duty. He became a hero overnight, and by this second test, he has a chance at drawing ever close to ‘Dormanian immortality’. Becoming just the first man to qualify the side to the knockout stage of a continental competition will just not go unrewarded.
Having conceded in all five Confederation Cup matches played so far, with five goals let in in three home games, Kenichi will have to pay special attention to his backline, which mostly revolves around Paul Aidoo, Farouk Adams, Caleb Amankwaaand Justice Anane.
Elvis Opoku and Sam Adams would probably have to overwork themselves in midfield, while the likes of Bright Adjei and Congolese import Oba Ikama Ulitch will have to do everything possible to make up for the massive blow that the absence of talismanic striker Yahaya Mohammed looks to be.
It’s simply a situation of all or nothing for the Fire Boys.
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