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2020 CAF Confederation Cup Final Preview: Pyramids FC (EGY) vs RS Berkane (MAR)

The CAF Confederation Cup wraps up on Sunday with Pyramids FC of Egypt taking on Moroccan side RS Berkane. Berkane will be participating in their second consecutive Confederation Cup final against an Egyptian team, losing to Zamalek last year. Pyramids and their support will be expecting nothing less than their first trophy, and appear to be the favorites. Pan-Africa Football looks at who will make an impact in the match:

Pyramids FC

Egyptian World Cup veteran Abdallah El Said stated that Pyramids are entirely focused on securing the club’s first ever trophy.

Path to the Final

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Expected formation and team profile

Pyramids took a while to get going, but showed off their capabilities in an improved second-half performance against Horoya. The club and its players have made no secret of the expectation to make this year’s edition of the Confederation Cup the club’s first trophy. If the club performs at its highest level, the attacking talent makes Pyramids the favorite.

The defense was hardly tested against a Horoya side that was in a bunker. El Mahdy Soliman will continue to start in goal, but Ahmed El Shenawy is a candidate to come on late for penalty kicks. Ali Gabr and Ahmed Ayman Mansour are a solid combination of size and touch tackling as the center-back pairing. Omar Gaber and Nabil Emad will fight for control of the midfield against a tough Berkane unit. Emad has the ability to be a match-winner and will be heavily involved

Playmaker Abdallah El Said delivered a brilliant goal to put the semi-final away, but his task will be made more difficult against Berkane. There will be less room for El Said to work with, so a major focus will be the opportunities that wing players Eric Traoré and Mohamed Farouk have to impact the match. Prolific forward John Antwi had little influence against Horoya, and may make way for impact substitute Ibrahim Hassan in order to move the more mobile Traoré up top. Manager Ante Cacic will have plenty of tactical decisions to make the attack its most efficient.

RS Berkane

Left-back Mohamed Aziz scored both goals from the penalty spot in the semi-final victory against Hassania Agadir.

Path to the Final

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Expected formation and team profile

RS Berkane didn’t win as convincingly as they wanted to in their semi-final against short-handed Hassania Agadir, but the team took their chances. Coach Tarik Sektioui looks committed to his starting eleven, waiting until late in the match to use his bench. Consistency has been the story throughout Berkane’s season when it comes to the lineup, and there should be no changes.

A fortress of a defense has been Berkane’s trademark this season. Burkina Faso international Issoufou Dayo showed off his aerial dominance against Hassania Agadir and will be focused on limiting Pyramids’ prolific striker, John Antwi. The rest of the defensive line will be need to keep the attackers of Pyramids from having open space to burst into. Najji Larbi was tenacious in the semi-final and will be all over the field to harass Abdallah El Said. One battle Berkane knows they can win on the day is the tactical and toughness battle.

The attack got the job done against HUSA by creating penalty kicks for Mohamed Aziz, but struggled to finish. Set pieces proved to be the best creator of chances, and will be an important focus in the final. Central midfielder Zaid Krouch is a two-way player whose performance will be key in winning the midfield battle. The wide midfielders will drift inside to support Krouch and Larbi defensively. Veteran forward pairing Mouhcine Iajour and Hamdi Laachir function well together even if their finishing is not in top form. Iajour in particular has a combination of size and speed to run at defenders.

Prediction

Pyramids have certainly displayed their talent in this tournament, but will face a very determined opponent in Berkane who will fight to the end. Pyramids are slight favorites, but Berkane will win a close one with a set-piece likely being the difference.

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