Sundowns target quarterfinal berth

Sundowns target quarterfinal berth
Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Jan 10, 2020. 09:00

Mamelodi Sundowns will look to secure qualification for the quarterfinals of the CAF Champions League when they host USM Alger at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday 11 January 2020, kick-off at 15:00 CAT.

Sundowns come into the clash at the top of Group C, having claimed seven points from a possible nine thus far, while the Algerian side is placed third with just two points from their three outings in the group stage.

The teams met in Blida on December 28, with the South African club claiming a 1-0 away win thanks to a second-half goal from captain and key midfielder Hlompho Kekana.

USMA have reacted well to that defeat, picking up back-to-back wins in Algeria’s Coupe Nationale, including a 6-1 hammering of USM Khenchela this past weekend.

‘Downs, meanwhile, have had less time to prepare for the clash, playing to a bruising 0-0 draw against fellow Premier Soccer League title hopefuls Bidvest Wits on Tuesday 7 January.

The key driver for the Brazilians is the chance to secure early qualification for the knockout phase. A win over USMA would take them to 10 points on the log, and if the other Group C clash later on Saturday between Angolan hosts Petro de Luanda and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca ends in anything other than a home victory, Pitso Mosimane’s side will be through with two games to spare.

Alger, meanwhile, need to pick up their first victory of the group to keep alive hopes of advancing into the knockout rounds for the fourth time in the past five years.

Egyptian referee Mahmoud El Banna will take charge of the game in Tshwane on Saturday afternoon.

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