Our football expert previews the CAF Champions League matches involving Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns which take place on Friday 15 March and Saturday 16 March 2019.
The ultimate round of this year’s CAF Champions League is upon us and we’ve got some exhilarating games instore for us this weekend. For Orlando Pirates, the story is simple, they must beat Horoya to qualify for the quarter-finals and Mamelodi Sundowns, who have already sealed passage through to the quarter-finals, need a draw against Wydad Casablanca to finish atop the standings. The Moroccans will be no pushovers as failing to amass maximum points might see them crash out of the competition.
Saturday 16 March
Orlando Pirates 34/10
This is like a final before the final! Horoya need a draw at home to go through and the visitors need a victory to leapfrog them into second place and advance to the quarter-finals. Horoya were no match for their opponents at Orlando Stadium where they got trounced 3-0.
The Buccaneers let slip a golden opportunity to be in a comfortable position last week when they drew 2-2 at home against FC Platinum.
The Buccaneers are unbeaten in the last four games across all competitions but they’ve had to come back three times after letting in early goals. Milutin Sredojevic’s men currently top their domestic league standings which shows that they’ve been one of the strongest teams this season.
Pirates have to be very patient in their approach especially in the opening stages because conceding could put wind on their opponents’ sails. Champions League-winning experience possessed by goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands, defender Asavela Mbekile and assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena should come to the fore.
My money is on the Buccaneers purely because they know that this is a match where they have to show South Africa and the entire continent what they are made of – their silky football has to be accompanied by results, especially in matches of this calibre.
Saturday 16 March
Wydad Casablanca 5/10
Mamelodi Sundowns 6/1
Wydad Casablanca are tied on seven points with third-placed ASEC Mimosas, who have a date with Lobi Stars. The Moroccans, who already enjoy a superior head to head record over their pursuers, have to not need favours from anyone. This will be a grudge game as their visit to South Africa was marred by post-match confrontations.
I expect Sundowns, who won the reverse fixture, to be subjected to a hostile environment. The Brazilians might only need a victory to finish as group winners after sealing quarter-final qualification last week. Pitso Mosimane might rest some of his key players in view of the domestic league title race and the South African national team. Five of his players have been called up for national duty in a crucial AFCON qualifier against Libya.
I expect Wydad to come out fighting as they need the points more than their opponents and they seek revenge after losing 2-1 in the first leg. They also have home ground advantage with vociferous fans fanning the fire that might burn Sundowns. Get on the hosts to edge this one.
DOUBLE @ 11/2
Orlando Pirates Win 34/10
Wydad Casablanca Win 5/10
Written by @EggsBenedictZA