Lobi Stars must reproduce their home form in Saturday's Caf Champions League Group A tie against ASEC Mimosas at the Stade Robert Champroux, Abidjan if they are serious about picking one of the two tickets to the quarter-final stage of the competition.
The Pride of Benue began their campaign in the club competition with a 2-1 home win over Mamelodi Sundowns and it was their first victory in the group stage of Africa’s flagship club competition since November 12, 2000, when they defeated Al Ahly 3-1.
They failed to advance to the next round that time because they finished third behind Accra Heart of Oak (Ghana) and Al Ahly (Egypt). This time, they are hoping to secure a crucial away point to boost their chances of qualifying.
Lobi Stars players must forget about the venue where the game is to be played and they must apply pressure right from the start to match their words with action that they truly want to return to Nigeria with at least a point. They need to correct the lapses that have made them vulnerable in defence in the games they have played away against UMS de Loum (Cameroon) and Gor Mahia of Kenya while their attackers must learn to take their chances.
ASEC Mimosas are the current Ivorien league champions and were African champions in the Caf Champions League in 1998 but since they got to the semi-final of the competition in 2002 and 2006.
Les Mimosas have not got their bearing in it because of their reliance on young players and the sale of their top talents to Europe. They are under tremendous pressure to stage a comeback after their 5-2 opening day loss to Wydad Casablanca of Morocco as they are presently at the foot of Group A.