Absa Premiership

Preview: Enyimba v Sundowns

2016-08-23 08:12
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo)

Cape Town - The final Group B match of the 2016 CAF Champions League is a dead rubber, Sundowns already having won the group, while Enyimba are out of the running.

Having been gifted a re-entry into the Champions League after the disqualification of AS Vita, Sundowns have forged full steam ahead with a perfect record in the final group phase, and will surely be starting to feel that this could be the year they finally conquer Africa.

Going into Tuesday night's showdown at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, the South African side have nine points from three matches, while Zamalek of Egypt are on six points from four games, with Enyimba yet to pick up a point from their three matches.

The first-legged clash between Sundowns and Enyimba ended in a 2-1 home win for Pitso Mosimane's side, Leonardo Castro and Wayne Arendse scoring either side of Dare Ojo's equaliser.

With little riding on the outcome of the match, Mosimane may be tempted to rest a few first-team regulars, especially Keagan Dolly, who only recently returned from the Olympic Games.

The defending league champions also begin domestic duties this weekend with an MTN8 clash against SuperSport on Sunday, another reason Mosimane may be tempted to field a few non regulars in west Africa.

The 'Downs mentor will also be considering the option of giving a run-out to new signings Sibusiso Vilakazi and Thapelo Morena in order to assimilate them into the team.

Enyimba coach Paul Aigbogun will be hoping that his side, two time Champions League winners, can at least restore some lost pride with a positive result, the Peoples' Elephant having lost 1-0 away to Zamalek last week to see their hopes of sneaking into the semi-finals evaporating into thin air.

But he too may prefer to focus on the club's domestic duties, Enyimba currently down in 10th spot in the Nigeria Premier League standings, eight points off pace-setters Wiki Tourists, but with two matches in hand.

"It's very painful that despite going this far we can't get to the semi-final, but in football that's the way it goes," Aigbogun told Goal.com after last week's defeat in Egypt.

"I keep on telling people that the league is still on and very open though it looks like we are out of the league title race but we have not given up. The Nigerian league has never been won at this stage at least since I have been around," he continued.

"So we shall go back home and prepare though it's unfortunate that we didn't make it far on the continent."

Despite being just three matches away from potential glory in the competition, Mosimane was playing it cool when asked after the win over Zamalek two weeks back if his side can lift the trophy:

"Let's leave the favourites thing - let’s have fun," he said. "Next year‚ we're going strong. We are still on a learning curve. But this learning curve is a little bit sweet‚ and it’s got a nice melody. And we are listening to the melody‚ and going with the melody.

"And why not? It's a nice whirlpool and a dream‚ and we are not going to be woken up from that dream."

Kick-off is at 17:30 (SA time).


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