AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s Champions League action

AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s Champions League action
epa05842768 Al Ahly's player Agai (R) in action against Bidvest Wits player Nazeer Allie (C), Wangu Gome (L) during the African Champions League (CAF) match between Al Ahly and Bidvest Wits at Salam stadium in Cairo, Egypt, 11 March 2017. EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Mar 16, 2017. 18:30

AfricanFootball looks ahead to this weekend’s CAF Champions League action, which will see 16 teams secure their passage into the competition’s new group stage.

First up on Friday afternoon we will see title holders Mamelodi Sundowns take a precarious 2-1 lead to Uganda to face KCCA. With an away goal behind their name, the East Africans are confident that they can claim a major scalp and bring the South African side’s reign to a premature end.

Saturday sees Cameroon’s Coton Sport take a slender 1-0 lead to Madagascar side CNaPS, while the match between Zanaco and Young Africans is set to be a thriller, with the teams drawing 1-1 in Dar Es Salaam last weekend.

Nigeria’s Rivers United will be confident of holding onto their 3-0 lead when they face Sudan’s Al Merrikh in Omdurman, while North African sides Wydad Casablanca, USM Alger and Al Ahly Tripoli all hold first leg leads for their return games against CF Mounana, Rail Club Kadiogo and FUS Rabat respectively.

Sunday is the busiest day of the weekend, with no less than nine matches. The likes of Etoile du Sahle, Al Hilal, Zamalek and Esperance de Tunis will travel away with strong leads under their belts, while Ethiopia’s Saint George have a 1-0 advantage ahead of hosting Congo’s AC Leopards.

A lot of attention will be focused on two major heavyweights, who face tough trips to Southern Africa. Eight-time champions Al Ahly head to Johannesburg with a narrow 1-0 lead and will expect a barrage from ambitious opponents Bidvest Wits.

The same can be said for DR Congo giants TP Mazembe, who only managed a 1-1 draw in Lubumbashi against Zimbabwe’s CAPS United. The return leg in Harare will be a severe test for the five-time tournament champions.

The 16 aggregate winners will advance into the group stage (where they will be divided up into four groups of four, with round-robin matches played from May to July), while the 16 losers will ‘drop’ into the Confederation Cup playoff round.

CAF Champions League first round, second leg matches

Aggregate scores in parenthesis

Friday 17 March

KCCA v Mamelodi Sundowns (1-2)

Saturday 18 March

CNaPS v Coton Sport (0-1)

Zanaco v Young Africans (1-1)

CF Mounana v Wydad Casablanca (0-1)

Rail Club Kadiogo v USM Alger (0-2)

FUS Rabat v Al Ahly Tripoli (0-2)

Al Merrikh v Rivers United (0-3)

Sunday 19 March

CAPS United v TP Mazembe (1-1)

AS Tanda v Etoile du Sahel (0-3)

AS Port Louis 2000 v Al Hilal (0-3)

AS Vita v Gambia Ports Authority (1-1)

Bidvest Wits v Al Ahly (0-1)

Saint George v AC Leopards (1-0)

Barrack Young Controllers v Ferroviario Beira (0-2)

Enugu Rangers v Zamalek (1-4)

Horoya v Esperance de Tunis (1-3)

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