CASABLANCA – Wydad Athletic Club could secure a place in the knockout stages should they collect maximum points at home in Casablanca against South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns in a crucial Caf Champions League Group C clash on Friday.
A win will see the defending champions amass an unassailable 11 points ahead of the last match, but it won’t be a walk in the park for the Moroccan giants against a spirited Sundowns side who seem to have found their rhythm of late.
Sundowns jetted off to Morocco earlier this week at the back of a league and cup win at home which they dominated with their star players showing coach Pitso Mosimane he has made some good investments.
The two sides are no strangers having knocked each other out of the competition in the last two editions of the Champions League in which they both went on to win.
With Wydad salvaging a vital point away from home in the first leg, their opponents will be going for the kill on Friday and cause an upset in what is expected to be a highly tactical affair between the two African powerhouses.
The acquisition of new stars such as Andile Jali, Lebohang Maboe and Aubrey Ngoma has certainly bolstered Mosimane’s squad following the departure of their goal poachers in Percy Tau and Khama Billiat while Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi have continued last season's good form.
Asked how they would approach the dangerous Wydad, Vilakazi said three points would be ideal but a point would still keep them in contention ahead of their last match of the group against Horoya.
“Getting three points away from home against Wydad would be great but I think a point wouldn’t be a bad result considering who we are playing. The game itself will dictate how things turn out.
"Sometimes a point is enough because it can make a huge difference come the end of the group stages,” said Vilakazi, who will be leading the frontline on Friday.
Besides their 2-0 loss in the second leg of the first round of the competition against Williamsville Athletic Club in March which was preceded by a 7-2 first leg, the reigning champions are yet to lose a match in this year’s campaign.
Their opponents, on the other hand, have had a rather bumpy ride in the competition, with just a single win from four outings with two ending in draws and a shock defeat against bottom-placed AS Togo last month.
Meanwhile, Horoya welcome AS Togo in the other Group C match in Conakry as they attempt to rewrite the history books by reaching the knockout stages of the competition.
The fixtures coming up are:
Friday, Tunis: Esperance (Tunisia) vs Al Ahly (Egypt)
Saturday, Kampala: KCCA (Uganda) vs Rollers (Botswana)
Friday, Setif : ES Setif (Algeria) vs TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
Saturday, El Jadidi: Difaa El Jadidi (Morocco) vs MC Alger (Algeria)
Friday, Conakry: Horoya (Guinea) vs AS Port (Togo)
Friday, Casablanca: Wydad (Morocco) vs Sundowns (South Africa)
Saturday, Manzini: Swallows (Swaziland) vs Zesco (Zambia)
Saturday, Sousse: Etoile (Tunisia) vs Primeiro de Agosto (Angola).
African News Agency (ANA)