Al Merrikh, Sundowns set for key clash

Al Merrikh, Sundowns set for key clash
Mamelodi Sundowns players warming up

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Feb 17, 2022. 14:00

Sudan’s Al Merrikh and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa will have a key clash in Group A of the CAF Champions League when they meet in a Matchday 2 fixture scheduled for 15:00 CAT on the afternoon of Saturday 19 February 2022.

Al Merrikh were not in Champions League action last weekend, as their scheduled opponents, Al Ahly of Egypt, were participating in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Al-Zaeem (The Chief) have been in good form domestically since the resumption of the Sudanese Premier League earlier this month, and will carry that momentum into this clash.

“Al Merreikh will be the dark horse of the tournament, we will qualify for the knock-out stages alongside Al Ahly,” said club president Hazem Mostafa, who also confirmed that they will play their home games in Cairo due to their usual home venues being deemed not up to standard by CAF.

Sundowns, meanwhile, opened their Group A campaign with a 1-0 home win over another Sudanese side, Al Hilal, last Friday, with Themba Zwane scoring the only goal of their clash at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. They also recorded a 1-1 draw in a domestic league clash away to Baroka FC earlier in the week.

“To be honest, the four teams that are in this group are all capable of going through,” Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi explained. “I don’t want to say who’ll go through. But I hope Mamelodi Sundowns is one of the two teams.

“But the truth of the matter is that it’s not going to be easy for any team – mark my words. As the matches progress, it’s going to be very tight in this group. I think this is one of the strongest groups in the CAF Champions League this season.”

In head-to-head stats, this will be the first competitive meeting of Al Merrikh and Mamelodi Sundowns.

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