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Wydad Casablanca v Mamelodi Sundowns

COMMENT: Anele Ngcongca's away goal may prove vital as Sundowns eye Caf Champions League final berth

4:49 PM MYT 28/04/2019
Wydad Casablanca v Mamelodi Sundowns, April 2019
Masandawana lost the first leg 2-1 in Rabat but have it all to play for heading into the return leg in Tshwane

Mamelodi Sundowns may have tasted defeat on Friday night, but the tie is anything but over.

While Salaheddine Saidi’s early goal would have had Masandawana fans trembling, it was perhaps the opposite when Anele Ngcongca came up with the all-important away goal.

Although the strike was not enough to see Sundowns walk away with a draw or a win as Wydad struck again just after the half-time interval, Pitso Mosimane will be forgiven for being a little optimistic despite admitting disappointment after the game.

Not many would have given Sundowns a chance in Morocco especially when considered that Wydad were buoyed on by a hostile home crowd and a home record that saw them last suffer defeat on the continent back in August of 2016.

Meanwhile, the last time Sundowns were in the Caf Champions League semi-finals was when they come up against Zesco United. Sundowns ended up losing the first leg 2-1 before going on to win the second leg 2-0 at home.

Is history about to repeat itself?  

Football though is not won on paper nor in the history books, but past experiences are a lesson for the present.

In African football, winning at home and drawing or avoiding a hefty defeat away is key to success.

Sundowns are experienced enough to understand this, not to mention that they have already been successful using this tactic against Al Ahly where they won 5-0 at home before being edged out in Egypt.

However, they do need to be wary of the dangers that Wydad pose. A draw is something that the Moroccans have achieved in Tshwane in the past which does make for a tricky outing. But on the plus side, Sundowns too boasts an impressive 12 game unbeaten run at home, which will make them carefully confident.

Wydad’s record in the fixture cannot be underestimated.

The Moroccan giants have won four of the seven meetings between the two sides, but it should be noted that none of those wins have come on South African soil.

Nonetheless, the odds are perhaps stacked in Sundowns’ favour. It all comes down to whether or not Sundowns are able to find the back of the net.

As fans have often become accustomed to seeing this season, Sundowns can be goal-shy, but this factor has not shown itself in continental football which could be a good omen for the 2016 African champions.