It's win or bust for Sunshine
Sunshine striker Ajani Ibrahim (left) wants to score goals on Sunday
Sunshine Stars are third in the standings in Group A with a point after two games, while the Algerians are bottom having not won any points after two rounds of matches.
Tunisian clubs Esperance and Etoile du Sahel are top of the group on six points and four points, respectively and both will come face-to-face in the other group game this weekend.
A victory is therefore very crucial for both Sunshine and ASO Chlef if they are to keep pace with the Tunisians.
Sunshine are very much aware of the importance of a home win on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Moses Ocheje told MTNFootball.com a win would boost their chances of going beyond the group stage of this competition.
“We have to go for the three points in the match. We need it to get chance to progress beyond the group stage. We know what is at stake and won’t underrate ASO,” said Ocheje, whose showing in the Champions League has been rewarded to the Super Eagles.
However, a disturbing statistic for the Nigerian club is that they are yet to score a goal in the group stage of CAF Champions League.
Ajani Ibrahim, who missed from inside 18-yard box when he was set by Dele Olorundare at Etoile, promised he and his colleagues will have their shooting boots on against the Algerians.
“We created chances in our last two games but could not convert any. It will be different in this one against the Algerians. I regret the miss in Tunisia against Etoile du Sahel and I will make up for that against ASO Chlef. This is a very important game for us,” said Ajani, who fired 19 goals last season in the Nigeria Premier League.
Sunshine Stars leading scorer in this season’s league, Dele Olorundare, also maintained the goals will come beginning on Sunday.
“We did our best in both games to score but could not convert the chances we got. We know how important this game is to our aspiration in the competition and so we will do our best and see that we see off ASO Chlef,” said Olorundare, who has netted 11 goals in the domestic league season.
“It is a do or die, we must win the game.”
“We will do our best to win our next game and we know that to win, we must score and we will do that,” added Izu Azuka, who has been courted by clubs in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Zakaria Haddouche, who rejoined ASO Chlef after playing for the country’s team in the Arab Cup, has insisted Sunshine will be the team under pressure.
“I am happy to be back in the team after playing in Arab Cup where I have gathered experience. I cannot wait to play again with the team in the Champions League,” Haddouche told his club’s official website.
“I want to play and help my team and I will do my best if the coach trusts me and gives me the chance to play. We must go at Sunshine.
“Everybody is focused and we have been working with a great purpose. There is a collective desire to redeem ourselves after the two defeats. We are therefore determined to a great performance in Nigeria.”
He would even tip ASO Chlef to turn the tables against Sunshine right in front of their fans as was the case when defending champions Esperance beat the Nigerians 2-0 in Ijebu-Ode on the first match day.
“There is also a great solidarity among the players. We need victory in Nigeria and anything is possible in a football match. We will have nothing to lose as all the pressure will be on the opponents, who are at home," he said.
“This is a game in which sacrifices must be made. We will keep alive our hopes with a good result on Sunday.”
ASO Chlef may be bottom of the standings, but they a decent team who will go all out against Sunshine Stars to claim the three points at stake.
They have featured in CAF Champions League previously in 2009, but could not go beyond first round. They have also featured in CAF Confederation Cup twice, in 2006 and 2007.