• Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Match Preview: Bendel Insurance vs. ASO Chlef – CAF Confederations Cup Clash

6,690 days since Bendel Insurance last played in a continental fixture, the Benin Arsenal returns to the continent for the first leg of the first preliminary round of the CAF Confederations Cup for a riveting clash against Algeria’s formidable Association Sportive Olympique de Chlef.

The Tale of the Tape

Bendel Insurance, the proud Federation Cup winners, enter this encounter fueled by the support of their home fans who are expected to fill up the 12,000 Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium with a mammoth crowd and a burning desire to make their mark on the continental stage.

Bendel Insurance qualified for the CAF Confederations Cup in style without conceding a goal in the Federation Cup. Insurance finished top of Group A in the regular season and fourth St the NPFL Super Six m

After a disappointing display at the Nigeria Premier Football League Super Six, Benin Arsenal had no choice but to win the Federation Cup if they were going to the continent. Imade Osarenkhoe’s spot-kick made the difference at the death of the first half for the Benin Side. At the end of 90 minutes, Bendel Insurance became champions of the Federation Cup for the third time.

Under the watchful eye of Monday Odigie, the side who went on an unbeaten streak of 26 games will hope to continue their form in the 2023/24 season, kickstarting with the CAF Confederations Cup. The Benin Arsenal will seek to translate their domestic success into a resounding triumph, something their home fans can remember for a long time.

In the opposing corner, ASO Chlef arrives with a reputation that precedes them. Bouncing back, ASO Chlef from an early concession to defeat CRB by a 2-1 score after extra time in the Algerian Cup to qualify for the CAF Confederations Cup. ASO Chlef who have now touched down Benin City are a resilient side, ready to give their all against Nigeria Federation Cup champions.

Photo Credit: Xinhua Net

ASO Chlef on the other hand, did not have a favourable season in the Algerian Professionelle Ligue 1. Losing 10, winning 11 and nine draws from 30 games finishing fifth. Qualification to play on the continent was only possible if they won the Algerian Cup which they won in a dramatic comeback.

Abdelkader Yaiche’s side will be aiming for a major upset against the Nigerian side as they have not had it easy against Nigeria’s teams. ASO Chlef last met a Nigerian team in the 2012 CAF Champions League group stage. They played Sunshine Stars twice in the group stage and lost both encounters 2-0 and 2-1 in that order.

Key Players to Watch

Eyes will be fixed on the pitch as standout players from both sides take centre stage. The spotlight falls on individuals whose prowess and form could sway the outcome of the match. For Bendel Insurance, the likes of forwards Sarki Ismael and Imade Osarenkhoe, centre-backs Tanimu Benjamin and Sunday Anyawu, new signings Kelly Kester and Tamara Ezekiel are expected to shine, leveraging their skill and experience to propel their team towards victory.

On the opposing end, ASO Chlef’s striker, 31-year-old Mohamed Souibaa will be a central figure, orchestrating their attacking manoeuvres and striving to penetrate Bendel Insurance’s solid defence.

Shot-stopper Sofiane Alouachiche is another name to watch out for as his command of the box is second to none. Ibrahim Morsli and Toufik Addadi are other names from the midfield, which Insurance needs to be wary of.

These key players hold the potential to be game-changers, dictating the flow of the match and leaving an indelible mark on the proceedings.

Tactics and Strategy

The tactical battle promises to be enthralling, as both teams vie for supremacy on the pitch.

Bendel Insurance, guided by Monday Odigie’s game plan, will aim to assert control in midfield, dictate the tempo, and exploit every weakness in ASO Chiefs’ defence. Swift counterattacks from long balls could be their recipe for success.

Conceding the least number of goals in the regular season of the Nigeria Premier Football League (11), Bendel Insurance locked defence will surely hold down Algeria’s attack.

In response, ASO Chlef is likely to rely on its technical prowess, intricate passing, and swift transitions to gain an upper hand.

From the statistics available, ASO Chlef has conceded only six goals in their last five matches from the previous season. In that same stead, the Algerian team has scored eight goals.

This shows the leaky defence of the Algeria team.


Bendel Insurance: DDLLW

Predicted Starting XI

Bendel Insurance: (4-4-2)
Amas Obasogie; Efe Enabulele, Julius Emiloju, Tanimu Benjamin, Sunday Anyawu; Kelly Kester, Stephen Sodje, Tamara Ezekiel, Zaidu Ayuba; Sarki Ismael, Imade Osarenkhoe

The Verdict

As the countdown to kick-off begins, anticipation mounts and the atmosphere at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium crackles with excitement. The support from the 12th man will serve as a driving force for Bendel Insurance, while ASO Chlef seeks to silence the crowd with their brand of attacking prowess.

We say a 2-0 victory in favour of Bendel Insurance.

Jokanola Bolaji

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