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CAF Champions League: Group Stages Final Round Preview


Last eight places are up for grabs as the CAF Champions League group stages finale takes centre stage this weekend.

The final round of fixtures in the CAF Champions League Group Stage offers great entertainment value as teams fight for the top two positions in their respective groups to make it into the quarterfinals. It’s drama all over the continent with shocking results potentially unfolding.
Saturday 8 July
Wydad Casablanca 7/10 | Draw 26/10 | Zanaco FC 36/10
Both teams will be looking to top Group D. Zanaco are on 11 points and progress into the next stage is all but sealed. Third-placed Al Ahly are on eight points. One more slip up by Zanaco will see the tie breaking statistics come into play.  
Wydad Casablanca are on 9 points and they know that there’s no room for mistakes with Al Ahly breathing down their necks. When Zanaco faced Wydad earlier this year they won 1-0. This will be a cagey affair but Zanaco will come out tops in the end.
Al Ahly SC 2/13 | Draw 7/1 | Coton Sport 10/1
For Al Ahly the story is simple: Win and hope for your opponents to drop points. The only result they need here is a win. A draw could also make the situation interesting with head-to-head statistics coming into play if second-placed Wydad Casablanca lose.

Bottom-placed Coton Sport have lost all their opening five games at this stage. They just have pride to play for and will be looking to avoid the embarrassment of exiting the tournament with zero points. The first leg clash between Coton Sport and Al Ahly was won by the latter 2-0 away from home. Al Ahly will easily win this one.
Sunday 9 July
Mamelodi Sundowns 1/11 | Draw 17/2 | AS Vita Club 17/1

The defending champions are second on the Group C stadings. They’re only one point adrift of Esperance who top the group. The Brazilians booked a place in the top two last weekend when they won 1-0 away to Ethiopia’s Saint George, with the man for big occasions Anthony Laffor finding the back of the net.

AS Vita Club are already mathematically out of the competition. They’ve only collected four points in their first five games. This is just a dead rubber for them in which the coach can give the youngsters a chance to experience continental football. Sundowns will come out all guns blazing with one eye on the top spot. They will win at home.
Esperance 1/6 | Draw 57/10 | Saint George 13/1

The Group C log leaders in Esperance are looking for nothing more than finishing at the summit of the standings. If they drop points and Sundowns win their game they will finish second. The Tunisian giants haven’t lost any of their opening five games, winning two and drawing the other three.
Saint George are third with only one win, two draws and two defeats in their first five games. They managed to hold Esperance to a goalless draw in their first leg encounter. I foresee a win for Esperance here.
Zamalek SC 7/20 | Draw 39/10 | Al Ahli Tripoli 13/2

Last year’s runners-up, Zamalek are rooted to the foot of Group B. In their first five games at this stage, they’ve only recorded one victory. By their standards, this is a below par performance. Their most recent in the tournament was a 3-1 defeat at the hands of CAPS United.
Al Ahli Tripoli are second on the log with only two points being the difference between them and third-placed CAPS United. Qualification for the last eight is not yet sealed. Al Ahli Tripoli were held to a goalless draw at home by Zamalek in the first leg. Knowing Egyptian teams, Al Ahli will be subjected to a great deal of hostility in Egypt and Zamalek will win the match.
USM Alger 7/20 | Draw 39/10 | CAPS United 13/2

USM Alger are riding the crest of the Group B wave. They’re tied on eight points with second-placed Tripoli and they’re both two points clear of CAPS United who are a serious threat to their last eight credentials.

For CAPS United it’s do or die. It’s all in their hands. They need nothing short of a victory against Alger to leapfrog them into last eight qualification positions. CAPS beat Alger 2-1 in the first leg in Zimbabwe. CAPS United will win this game and progress to the next stage of the competition. 
Written by Benedict Ngwenya for

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