International

Pitso's second star chase continues with Al Ahly visit

2020-03-05 14:45
Pitso Mosimane
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)

Mamelodi Sundowns welcome Al Ahly to the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday for the Caf Champions League second leg quarter-final clash with hopes of qualifying for the next round.

However, a 2-0 deficit stand in their way following a gruelling first leg defeat against the Egyptian giants in Cairo last weekend.

Ali Maaloul netted a brace in under 12 minutes to give the record eight-time African champions the advantage as they continue to avenge their embarrassing 5-1 aggregate defeat against the Absa Premiership giants at the same stage of the competition last campaign.

The Red Devils are undergoing a remarkable season with 16 consecutive league wins that have surged them to the summit of the Egyptian Premier League with 38 points - stretching their lead over second place El Mokawloon by 18-points.

Meanwhile, Sundowns find themselves wrapped in a three-way domestic title chase along with Orlando Pirates as they hunt down log leaders Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa's topflight

Despite their desire to catch Amakhosi, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has always had a huge fascination with the Caf Champions League.

"The Champions League is a priority for us," the 2016 Caf Champions League-winning coach said last season.

"You know that I always say that I would love to win everything, but you know where the biggest weight is… The priority at home is the league, but internationally, for the brand of Mamelodi Sundowns, it's the Champions League."

Since their 2016 triumph, Mosimane has been obsessed with gaining a second star above the Masandawana crest.

They have been consistent in reaching the knockout rounds but have so far fallen short in their pursuit.

Last season, the Brazilians suffered a 2-1 aggregate defeat in the semi-final against Moroccan outfit Wydad Casablanca.

On Saturday, they will attempt to overturn a 2-0 deficit which could be quite demanding as Al Ahly seem to be unbeatable this season under Rene Weiler.

Following their first-leg defeat, Mosimane said: "We played well, and I am okay, it's just that two goals is a bit difficult for us to turn the results around. But we have to turn the volume up in Pretoria, we don't have an option."

However, playing in front of a roaring home crowd could be the kicker that jerks Sundowns to hand Al Ahly only their second defeat in all competitions this season.

With a semi-final spot up for grabs, this fixture will surely be a fierce encounter between two clubs hungry for African glory.

Kick-off is at 15:00 on Saturday.

 

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The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

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