COMMENT: Will playing away from home first benefit Sundowns against Wydad Casablanca in Caf Champions League?

Sundowns don't have an impressive away record in this year's Caf Champions League, but they have no reason to panic as they visit Wydad on Friday

Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca will again renew their continental rivalry when they meet in the semi-finals of the Caf Champions League

The first of the two-legged semi-final will be in Rabat, and the Brazilians know that they can give little away if they are to stand any chance of reaching their third Caf Champions League final. 

But will playing away from home first help them achieve this goal? Goal takes a look at Sundowns' advantages ahead of the encounter on Friday night. 

While Pitso Mosimane's men have not been too impressive on the road this season, in all honesty, they have been thriving at home and being away from home for the first leg could help them plan better for Wydad in the return leg. 

In this season's campaign, Sundowns have won just once away from while suffering three defeats and drawing the other two. 

Wydad v Sundowns PS

However, they still managed to make it past the group stages and reach the semi-finals. 

The Tshwane giants' 5-1 aggregate win over Al Ahly sent a strong message to the remaining four teams in the competition, and while Wydad should be wary of their South African counterparts, they would look at their away record and still fancy their chances of reaching the final.

Looking at Sundowns' away record, it's important to note that they either lost by a small margin or drew without really hurting their chances for the return legs. 

Playing at home first has its advantages and disadvantages as Sundowns showed the entire continent when they hammered Al Ahly 5-0 before losing 1-0 away from home.

Al Ahly v Mamelodi Sundowns, April 2019

But history has taught us that the most successful teams in the Caf Champions League usually play away before completing the job at home in the return leg, and this could be the case with Sundowns, who didn’t enjoy the same benefits even when they lifted the trophy in 2016.

Mosimane can afford to lose by at least 2-1 or even 1-0 and win by a big margin in Tshwane, but what will be important is to either get a draw or score an away goal which could prove crucial for the second leg.

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In 2013, Al Ahly came to South Africa and drew 1-1 against Orlando Pirates before completing the job with a 2-0 win at home to lift the coveted trophy, and this means Sundowns can do the same at this stage of the campaign and secure their spot in the final.

So, Sundowns can still dream big and use this to their advantage. Had the first leg been at home, perhaps they would have been too confident after their previous result in the competition.

Perhaps, the current situation would keep them on their toes and there’s no doubt that they have a great chance of becoming the first South African team to reach three Caf Champions League finals.