‘Downs ready for Leopards challenge

‘Downs ready for Leopards challenge
Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership match Supersport United and Mamelodi Sundowns on 01 March 2016 at Lucas Moripe Stadium Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

by BackPageTXT

Thursday Mar 10, 2016. 12:30

Mamelodi Sundowns and AC Leopards will begin battle in the CAF Champions League when they meet for the first leg of their first round clash in Tshwane on Saturday evening. Kick-off at the Lucas Moripe Stadium is set for 20h15 CAT.

The South Africans booked their place in the last 32 in dramatic circumstances, with Katlego Mashego scoring a last-gasp penalty in the second leg of their preliminary round tie against Zimbabwe’s Chicken Inn to win 2-1 on aggregate.

Sundowns have been in superb form and will look to take the momentum they have built in domestic competitions (they are runaway leaders in South Africa’s top flight league) into their African adventure.

Left wingback Mzikayise Mashaba believes the Brazilians must treat every game like a cup final: “We need to win every match to progress to the next round in every competition we play in,” he said.

“In CAF, you need to win to go to the next round, so we play each match like it’s a cup final. So we need to focus like we did against Highlands Park [‘Downs won 1-0 this past weekend] and win every match that we play.”

Leopards, meanwhile, were given a bye into this phase of the continental competition and will thus be beginning their Champions League campaign for 2016. They fell out of the competition in the second round last year, before going on to reach the group stage of the Confederation Cup.

Namibian referee Jackson Pavaza will take charge of Saturday’s match. The aggregate winners of the tie will advance into the second round, where they will face either AS Vita of the DR Congo or Mozambique’s Ferroviario Maputo.

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