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CAFCL Preview: Al Ahly (EGY) vs. Mamelodi Sundowns (RSA)

Africa’s two top clubs face off in a highly anticipated clash on Saturday at the CAF Champions League with Group B foes Mamelodi Sundowns and Al Ahly locking horns in Cairo. Sundowns and Ahly will meet for the fourth consecutive season in Africa’s biggest club competition with last season seeing Sundowns sweep the Egyptian super club in the group stage by 1-0 victories both home and away. Ahly eliminated the South African champions at the quarterfinal stage in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 editions of the competition in what always turns out to be an interesting clash.

Ahly were in the news over the past week due to their protests against Sudanese club Al-Hilal following a defeat away from home but the current Egyptian Premier League leaders need to focus on Saturday’s home match. A loss at home to Sundowns would leave Ahly with a hole to dig themselves out of in Group A. However, Ahly are currently in confident form with manager Marcel Koller resting a few starters in the team’s dominant 3-0 victory at Aswan SC in Egyptian Premier League play during the midweek. Fullbacks Mohamed Hany and Ali Maâloul are set to return to the eleven in a mostly full strength Ahly squad.

Hamdi Fathi is another player who was rested in midweek action to boost the Ahly midfield and should line up with Aliou Dieng in the center. Ahmed Abdelkader continues to be in excellent form and will be the main threat in the attack while Koller will hope that Hussein El Shahat can continue to score and create goals after a hat trick of assists against Aswan. Percy Tau and Mohamed Sherif are the main threats up top and Tau should get the nod against Sundowns where he made his name.

Sundowns are in the best form of any club in Africa at the moment. Ever since a defeat to Orlando Pirates in South Africa’s MTN 8 cup competition back in October, The Brazilians have won every match since then including their opening two Group B clashes against Al-Hilal Omdurman and Coton Sport. Head coach Rulani Mokwena anticipates an intimidating atmosphere in Cairo but knows that Ahly will be worried about his team after Sundowns held Ahly scoreless in both of their matchups during the group stage in last year’s edition of the CAFCL.

There are no worries when it comes to injuries for Sundowns and Mokwena’s greatest difficulty will be the choices he has when determining his starting eleven for the match. One player who will have many eyes on him is young forward Cassius Mailula who continues to find the net in all competitions. Aubrey Modiba and Khuliso Mudau were particularly dangerous in the 3-1 victory at Coton Sport and should retain their spots as fullbacks or wingbacks. Teboho Mokoena continues to be a leader in the heart of the midfield while Neo Maema and Chilean Marcelo Allende are creative threats from attacking midfield positions.

More information on both teams is in the links below.

Al Ahly v Sundowns rivalry continues (SuperSport)

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