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CAF CL: All eyes on AlAhly against Mamelodi as quarter-finals kickoff

By Brian Aheebwa
Denis Onyango | Courtesy photo

Two weeks ago, the 2020/21 CAF Champions League quarter-final draw was conducted, pitting Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns against each other as the biggest amongst all.

With eight African giants left in the competition, they will all be vying for continental glory when the action gets underway on Friday, May 14. We, therefore, take you through all the matches.

MC Alger vs Wydad Casablanca

It will all start in Algiers, Algeria on Friday evening when MC Alger host Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca at Stade 5 Juillet 1962.

En route to the quarter-finals, Wydad finished as Group C leaders on 13 points while Alger was second on nine points in Group D.

The two sides have met twice before with each team winning once while at home in the group stages of 2011.

Abdenour Belkheir for Algers and Ayoub El Kaabi of Wydad will be the players to watch. Belkheir managed two goals and an assist in the group stages, while El Kaabi is among the top scorers on three goals and one assist.

The Reds have won the Champions League twice in 2017 and 1962, whereas The People’s Club are one time-winners (1976).

Nabil Neghiz’s charges find themselves sixth on 34 points on the 20-team log in the Algerian Ligue One while Faouzi Benzarti’s men are on 31 points, top of the summit on the 16-team Botola Pro log.

Al Ahly vs Mamelodi Sundowns

The talking point in this quarter-final tie is that it re-unites Pitso Mosimane, the head coach of Al Ahly, against his former side Mamelodi Sundowns.

Al Ahly will host the first leg on Saturday, May 15, at the Cairo International Stadium, Egypt, before Mosimane returns to Lucas Moripe Stadium a week later.

This fixture has become a familiar one in the last eight, this being the third straight meeting between the two in the quarter-finals having met in 2019 and 2020 at the same stage.

Former Uganda Cranes captain and goalkeeper Dennis Onyango is popular in this fixture, having featured in all the previous four meetings.

In total, the Red Devils and the Brazilians have met eight times previously, with the former winning on four occasions, the latter once, while the other three have been draws.

Before joining Al Ahly last year to win his second Champions League, the first with the Egyptian side against rivals Zamalek, Mosimane lost a quarter-final tie 3-1 to the former while still at Sundowns during the same season.

On their way to this year’s quarter-finals, Mosimane’s Red Devils were second on 11 points in Group A while Rhulani Mokwena’s charges finished top of Group B on 13 points.

Al Ahly’s Mohamed Sherif is a joint-top-scorer on three goals, while Mamelodi’s Themba Zwane is on two goals and three assists. The two should light up the show on Saturday.

The Egyptian giants are current holders and the most successful side on the continent with 11 Champions League titles, while the PSL side has won it once, in 2016.

Kaizer Chiefs vs Simba

Uganda Cranes midfielder Taddeo Lwanga and Simba visit South African outfit Kaizer Chiefs at Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, on Saturday.

Coming to this stage, Simba led proceeding in Group A on 13 points, two ahead of current holders Al Ahly who were on 11 points, while in Group C, Kaizer Chiefs finished second on nine points.

Simba’s Luis Miquissone leads the scorer’s charts on three goals and two assists while Chiefs’ Khama Billiat has not yet clicked scoring only once so far, but the two should be the centre of focus for either side as they met for the first time.

The Reds of Msimbazi are top of the 18-team Tanzanian Premier League log on 61 points, while the Amakhosi are on 30 points and 10th in the PSL.

CR Belouizdad vs Esperance Tunis

After MC Algers hosting Wydad Casablanca at Stade 5 Juillet 1962, on Friday, fellow Algerian side CR Belouizdad will take on Esperance Tunis from Tunisia at the same stadium the following day.

To reach the quarter-finals, Belouizdad finished as runners-up in Group B on nine points, while Esperance were Group D winners on 11 points.

Zoran Manojlovic will rely on Amir Sayoud, who is on three goals, while Mohamed Ben Romdhane, who is also on three goals plus an assist, should carry his scoring boots on the day to inspire Moïne Chaâbani’s coached Esperance.

Belouizdad is fourth in the Algerian Ligue One on 36 points whereas Esperance find themselves at the helm of the 14-team Tunisian Ligue on 60 points.

After two legs, the winner between MC Algers and Wydad Casablanca will play the winner between Kaizer Chiefs and Simba in the semi-finals.

The winner between Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns will face the winner between Belouizdad and Esperance.

The second legs will be played between the 21st and 22nd May 2021 to determine who the final four teams will be in this year’s CAF Champions League.

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