D-day for Mamelodi in Caf groups showdown
Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa are a seeded club in danger of elimination as the struggle for CAF Champions League quarter-finals places reaches a climax today.
The Pretoria outfit must win at home to prevent opponents Horoya of Guinea qualifying at their expense from a mini-league already won by title-holders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.
Pitso Mosimane, who coached Sundowns to the 2016 Champions League title, is optimistic despite his team failing to score in their past three matches in all competitions.
“We will win against Horoya,” he insists. “We are a good team and playing at home, where we are very strong.”
AFP Sport takes a group-by-group look at the final fixtures with eight clubs in contention for three quarter-finals places.
Record eight-time African champions Al Ahly of Egypt and Esperance of Tunisia have already qualified, so who finishes first is the outstanding issue.
Ahly lead on head-to-head records having won and drawn against Esperance and a home win over Kampala Capital City Authority of Uganda will ensure they stay top.
Bottom club Township Rollers of Botswana hope to end a four-match losing streak when they host Esperance.
TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the last of whose five Champions League titles came in 2015, are certain of taking top place after an unbeaten five-match run.
The Lubumbashi side host second-place Difaa el Jadida of Morocco, who recently sold leading 2018 Champions League scorer Hamid Ahaddad to Zamalek of Egypt.
Assuming Mazembe win, 1976 African champions Mouloudia Alger will join them in the September 3 quarter-finals draw if they avoid defeat at home to fellow Algerian team Entente Setif.
Sundowns recently lost Percy Tau to English Premier League club Brighton and Zimbabwean Khama Billiat and Colombian Leonardo Castro to domestic rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
The overall effect has been a shortage of goals with Venezuelan Jose Ali Meza yet to settle and New Zealander Jeremy Brockie unable to replicate his form at another South African club.
While Sundowns and Horoya fight for survival, Wydad are away to bottom club Port of Togo, whose only points came from a shock home win over the South Africans.
Etoile Sahel of Tunisia are through to the last eight as group winners and Primeiro Agosto of Angola are well positioned to join them.
A home win over an Mbabane Swallows of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) side battling since the sale of several stars will guarantee the Luanda club second place.
But if Primeiro slip up, they could lose out to Swallows or 2016 semi-finalists Zesco United of Zambia, who host Etoile hoping for more goals from in-form striker Lazarous Kambole.
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