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STATS: Sundowns v Al Ahly & other CAF matches

As far as CAF Champions League matches go, you will struggle to find a clash as highly anticipated as that between Sundowns and Al Ahly. The dominant narrative will mostly be around Pitso Mosimane’s return to face a side he helped establish a domestic power base in recent years, but there is much more going on beyond that. By many measures, the clash is significant, and it reads more like a Champions league final than a Group encounter.

9 – Between them, Sundowns and Al Ahly have won 10 of the last 12 national league titles in South Africa and Egypt in the last six seasons.

Their impressive league titles are one of many things that the two giants of African football have in common. Al Ahly are current leaders of the Egyptian Premier League, while Sundowns are currently leaders of the PSL. This is both their 10th game since the start of last month – Sundowns have lost just one of those, while Al Ahly have lost just two. Yet, the bookies make Sundowns slight favourites – something that may have to do with Al Ahly’s record on South African soil.

12 – Al Ahly haven’t won a match in South Africa in 12 attempts, losing four and drawing eight away matches to PSL opposition since 2001.

If that record brings a chuckle out of Manqoba Mngqithi, Rulani Mokwena & co, then the Red Devils’ current away form may elicit a full smile. They’ve won just one of the last five games played away from home. That said, the 4-1 win in their last away game (where they were 3-0 up in the opening 13 minutes) may be more relevant. But it’s hard to see them repeating that feat here, if they are to find the net at all.

0 – Sundowns have kept a clean sheet in each of their three group games.

They’ve never kept four successive clean sheets from the start of a Champions League group, and another first could be on the cards. Given the earlier result in the Group where Al-Hilal beat Al-Mereik, the group is much tighter and this game now has extra significance. Defeat for Al Ahly by more than one goal would see them go bottom of the group, while a victory would ensure some breathing space between them and the two other Al’s. But Downs will also want to record a memorable double over their rivals.

1 – Orlando Pirates (2014/15) are the only side to complete a double over Al Ahly in the same season.

Camped in Naturena (Kaizer Chiefs’ home), Al Ahly are quite familiar with the South African environment. After all, they have played more matches against PSL sides in continental competitions than any other side (27 – W12 D8 L7). For the superstitious, five of those matches were played in the month of March, with Ahly losing three, drawing two and losing none.

1 – Since 1998, Sundowns have played 22 CAF matches in the month of March, and lost just one (W15 D6).

Other matches

ES Setif v AmaZulu (50)

1 – ES Setif have lost just one of their last 20 home games in all competitions (W14 D5). On the other hand, AmaZulu have won one of their last 11, including defeats in each of their last four.

Orlando Pirates v Royal Leopards (50)

0 – No team from Eswatini has ever won a CAF match on South African soil, drawing three and losing on five visits, to five different PSL sides.

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