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Al Ahly v Sundowns & other Caf matches

When the Caf groups were drawn at the end of December last year, this tie automatically became one of the most anticipated ties in this stage. This was not just due to a rich history ensuring that two African giants were on a collision course.

The Pitso Mosimane factor obviously mattered, but this also had a lot to do with the present. Mamelodi Sundowns lost their first game of their campaign, with that first defeat coming 24 games in. Al Ahly were also starting to gather some momentum in a season that started later.

Al Ahly v Sundowns

0 – When the Group Stage draw was conducted, Al Ahly were still unbeaten in the season, winning eight and drawing four of their 12 new season games.

Almost two months later, nothing has changed on the anticipation front. For many people that glance through the Caf Champions League fixture list, this is probably the biggest game to watch this weekend. That said, much has changed on the form front for both sides.

Although Sundowns managed to win their first three New Year games, they have stuttered a bit lately, drawing two in a row. Yet, it seems the New Year has been unkinder to the Egyptians.

 3 – Al Ahly have won just three of their first 10 games in 2022 (W3 D5 L2 in all competitions).

 With league leaders’ Pyramids on the fixture horizon, the task of regaining some momentum is not looking as easy for coach Pitso Mosimane. A win this weekend will go a long way in regaining that momentum. Credit to him, Pitso has the blueprint for causing Sundowns problems. This will be the third time he faces his former club, and he remains unbeaten in that regard, winning the home leg and drawing the away leg in last season’s quarter-finals. Their home form also bodes well.

 1 – Al Ahly are unbeaten at home in almost one year, winning 12 and drawing eight home matches in all competitions since April last year.

As for Sundowns, the Champions League remains the biggest test for Mosimane’s successors. They are cruising in the league and through to the next round of the Nedbank Cup, but Manqoba Mngqithi and co. have a delicate balance to strike between which competition basket they put all their eggs in. Given the side’s ambition, they will probably want to achieve victory on all fronts, and the coaches will regard their away record as a boon.

 2 – Sundowns have lost just two away matches in all competitions since the trio of coaches took charge, winning 21 and drawing 13.

 However, one of those two defeats came against Al Ahly.

 Other matches

AmaZulu v ES Setif

The Champions League is one of the biggest tests Benni McCarthy was hoping to pass in his pursuit of being respected as a coach. The home matches are most crucial at this stage of the competition, so Friday will be key. Usuthu are unbeaten at home in five months (12 matches) but have drawn (8) much more than they have won (4).

1 – Only one Algerian team won a Caf fixture on South African soil (CR Belouizdad v Sundowns last season).

 Royal Leopards v Orlando Pirates

Pirates were valiant in defeat against Al-Ittihad last weekend but will need more than valiance when they make the short trip to Eswatini; The 3-2 defeat was the first time PSL-era Orlando Pirates scored 2+ goals in an away CAF game but ended up on the losing side. In fact, only once before (2-3 v Supersport in the 2016 Nedbank Cup final) has this happened before in any Cup game involving the Buccaneers. They will be favourites here, except their form on the road is a bit iffy.

 2 – Since January 2019, Pirates have won two out of 12 games away from home in CAF competitions, drawing four and losing the other six. 

By Opta Jabu

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