Friday Apr 02, 2021. 11:00
The CAF Champions League group stage will see its penultimate round of matches played across Friday 2 and Saturday 3 April, with the focus falling on Egyptian giants Zamalek.
The Cairo club, which finished as runners-up in last season’s CAFCL, stands on the precipice of elimination heading into their clash away to Mouloudia Club d’Alger on Saturday night. Anything other than a win for the White Knights will see them make an early exit and add more pressure onto the shoulders of manager Patrice Carteron.
“I took charge at a difficult time and the players’ morale was really low,” the Frenchman explained. “Since my arrival, I have been working on raising the players’ morale and improving their fitness. My target is to make them enjoy their football again.”
MCA boss Abdelkader Amrani, meanwhile, has urged his charges not to play for the draw needed to secure qualification alongside Group D leaders Esperance de Tunis.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to say we’re going to play for the draw,” said Amrani. “Against the Egyptians, we will play to win, because if we decide to only defend to get this point, it will be a great risk on our part and then we will have regrets if we unfortunately lose the match.”
The Matchday 5 action gets underway on Friday with Al Hilal looking to follow in the footsteps of the Sudanese national team by defeating South African visitors (Group B winners Mamelodi Sundowns) in a must-win clash – as was the case in the Africa Cu of Nations qualifiers last Sunday! – while an equally important clash between CR Belouizdad and TP Mazembe is set for Algiers later the same day.
Group A will be the centre of attention on Saturday afternoon when Al Merrikh look to keep themselves alive at home to reigning African kings Al Ahly, at the same time that leaders Simba SC of Tanzania look to seal qualification by avoiding defeat at home to DR Congo’s AS Vita Club.
Saturday’s early-evening games feature Esperance looking to guarantee top spot in Group D by winning in Senegal against Teungueth, while Group C’s action sees Kaizer Chiefs aiming to avenge their 4-0 loss to Wydad Casablanca when the teams meet in Johannesburg, as well as a must-win clash for Petro de Luanda at home to Horoya AC.
CAF Champions League fixtures, 2-3 April
Friday 2 April
15:00: Al Hilal v Mamelodi Sundowns
21:00: CR Belouizdad v TP Mazembe
Saturday 3 April
15:00: Al Merrikh v Al Ahly
15:00: Simba SC v AS Vita Club
18:00: Kaizer Chiefs v Wydad Casablanca
18:00: Petro de Luanda v Horoya AC
18:00: Teungueth v Esperance de Tunis
21:00: MC Alger v Zamalek