Mamelodi Sundowns and Al Ahly battle it out for a spot in the penultimate stage of the CAF Champions League with the quarter-final first leg fixture taking place this Saturday.
These sides met at this stage last year and the Brazilians recorded a comfortable 5-1 victory, aided by the fact that they went into the second leg having already won 5-0 at home. Who will reign supreme at the Cairo International Stadium? Here’s what’s likely to unfold…
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
CAF Champions League | Saturday 29 February |Cairo International Stadium | 18:00
Pitso Mosimane rested his key players in last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Vaal University of Technology in the Nedbank Cup. As much as they lost the away leg last year, they must have fond memories of the venue they’ll be playing in because that’s where they lifted the Champions League in 2016.
The Brazilians were dealt a major blow when Mosa Lebusa suffered a hip contusion but the likes of Motjeka Madisha and Wayne Arendse should be able to get the job done. In terms of further injury news, Thapelo Morena, who’s been pivotal in the competition has been ruled out for the rest of the season while the club is also sweating over the fitness of Anele Ngcongca, Oupa Manyisa, Ricardo Nascimento and Mauricio Affonso.
Mamelodi Sundowns have lost only two of their last 22 games across all competitions and it’s very interesting to note that one was against Golden Arrows in a water-logged pitch and the other one was against Orlando Pirates who are still unbeaten in regulation time under Josef Zinnbauer.
Verdict: Al Ahly (15/20)
Al Ahly have won every home game they have played against Mamelodi Sundowns and I don’t see that record coming to an end. The Brazilians are used to playing away from home and they can hold their own but the Red Devils should have enough firepower in their arsenal to edge their visitors in this particular encounter because they know that the away leg will be trickier.