Five big guns facing early elimination in the Champions League

Five big guns facing early elimination in the Champions League
Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns

by Nick Said

Wednesday Aug 21, 2019. 13:00

The 2019-20 CAF Champions League may only be at the preliminary round stage, but already a number of the leading sides on the continent are facing embarrassing eliminations.


They enter the second legs of their ties in precarious positions this weekend, needing improved performance, and perhaps some luck, to advance, or otherwise face the ignominy of a disastrous exit.


AfricanFootball.com takes a look at five sides with their backs against the wall.


AS VITA CLUB (DR CONGO)


Vita Club managed a 0-0 away draw against Cameroon side UMS de Loum in the first leg of their tie and now have some work to do to complete the job.


They have an experienced coach in Florent Ibenge, who recently resigned from his dual role as the DR Congo national team coach, which means he can provide more focus for his club.


But Vita Club have had a dip in form, and now have three 0-0 draws in their last five matches, which suggests a side not as potent in attack as they once were.


They have also been held at home by Moroccan side Difaâ El Jadida and Saoura of Algeria, which will give UMS a boost in confidence.


ENYIMBA (NIGERIA)


Enyimba are trailing 1-0 from the first leg of their tie against Burkina Faso side Rahimo, though they do have the home fixture to come, albeit at an empty Enyimba International Stadium after CAF instructed them to play behind closed doors.


Rahimo are debuting in the Champions League, but showed enough in the first leg to suggest they will be a tough nut to crack. They will also know that if they score one goal, Enyimba will need to net three to get ahead in the tie.


ETOILE DU SAHEL (TUNISIA)


The 2015 CAF Confederation Cup winners also trail from the first leg, though they have a potentially precious away goal following a 2-1 loss at Guinea side Hafia.


Hafia will be up against it in the second leg but are on a strong run of form and it will be up to the Tunisians to come out and attack, which could leave spaces behind their defence.


MAMELODI SUNDOWNS (SOUTH AFRICA)


The 2016 Champions League winners faces a tougher-than-expected trip to Congo to meet AS Otôho, who won the first leg 1-0.


An added complication for Sundowns is that their influential skipper Hlompho Kekana received a red card in the first half of that game and will miss the second leg through suspension.


Sundowns have shown a distinct lack of ability to kill off visiting teams at home when needed, having been held to goalless draws by Horoya and Wydad Casablanca in recent years that has led to their elimination.


ORLANDO PIRATES (SOUTH AFRICA)


Pirates are in some turmoil having lost coach Micho Sredojevic to Zamalek, had an iffy start to their league campaign, been knocked out of the MTN8 and now trail Zambian side Green Eagles 1-0 from the first leg of their tie in Lusaka.


It has been a near disastrous start to the new campaign for the side, that could get even worse if their Champions League aspirations fail at the first hurdle.


The good news is they created plenty of chances against Green Eagles, which suggests they have goals in them in the second leg, but the reality is they have now gone four matches without scoring.


You wouldn’t bet against that becoming five …






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