Tense CL return leg quarters expected

TANZANIA: THE second leg of the CAF Champions League (CAF CL) quarter-finals are destined to be thrilling in terms of goal hunting battles after witnessing just one goal in the first leg fixtures.

Only the defending champions, Al Ahly have tasted victory in the played four matches, after upsetting Simba 1-0 at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Friday.

Exploring available records, last season in the first leg of CAF CL quarter-final matches, nine goals were netted and no venue embraced a goal drought.

Similarly, in the 2021/22 Champions League calendar, the first leg quarters sourced seven goals, with one match ending up in a goalless draw between ES Setif against Esperance.

In this context, this season’s last eight games have already proved to be tough, hence a reason for competing teams to practice a lot on how to be clinical. All the remaining seven teams are yet to score a goal or cherish a victory, a genuine reason to imagine that the reverse leg duels are going to be red-hot as the results to be generated will be decisive.

Likely, teams that play at away venues will have a slight advantage in making ends meet, courtesy of the away goal rule that is still applicable.

The pressure will be on the three hosts, bearing in mind that any draw involving goals will earn the visitors a place into the semi-finals and this is what makes the upcoming games nerve-racking.

For Al Ahly against Simba match scheduled at Cairo International Stadium in Egypt on Friday, it is a complex game for either side as anything can happen.

Though the Reds are heading there with one goal down, not all has been lost, as they are capable of making a U-turn on the away turf and accumulating positive results to drive them to the last four.

Likewise, Mamelodi Sundowns against Young Africans at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa on the same day, is again a fresh match.

On Saturday, another set of two heavyweight fixtures will be played, as Petro de Luanda welcome TP Mazembe at Estadio 11 de Novembro, which has a capacity of 48,500 people.

Later, ASEC Mimosas take on ES Tunis at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, with a 33,000-seater capacity.

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