Caf Champions League: Cote d’Or vs Mamelodi Sundowns - Five key battles to watch

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Goal takes a look at five key battles to look out for in the clash between the Brazilians and the Seychelles outfit

In their quest to secure their second Caf Champions League trophy, Mamelodi Sundowns are out of the country this weekend to honour their first-round first-leg match against Cote d’Or of Seychelles.

The clash slated for Saturday afternoon at Stade Linite is set to be an interesting one for both sides, and the South Africans should not underestimate their counterparts who are out to make history.

With the hosts having defeated Fomboni FC of Comoros in the previous round, the 2016 African champions are fresh from a 5-2 victory over Congolese side AS Otoho d’Oyo and Goal takes a look at five key battles to look out for.

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Denis Onyango vs Colin Esther

The big Ugandan keeper’s experience in the continental competition has proven to be vital for the Tshwane giants. Having conceded away from home against Otoho d’Oyo, Onyango will look to keep a clean sheet this weekend and will be wary of facing Esther. Meanwhile, Esther was on target in their previous match against Fomboni, where he netted to ensure they reached the next stage.

Wayne Arendse vs Tony Kizito

One of the most influential campaigners in the Sundowns set up is the Cape Town-born defender. Arendse brings stability at the heart of the defence and his understanding with Onyango will be crucial away from home. Arendse will, however, face challenging times against the Ugandan international Kizito. The Cranes star has also found his name on the scoresheet against Fomboni last month.

Hlompho Kekana vs Peter Bgenga

Kekana has been a colossus for coach Pitso Mosimane’s side along the years. Having lifted his first continental trophy in 2016, Kekana will hope to lead the team to glory this term. He will be dangerous with his long-range shots and ability to dictate the game. However, facing Gbenga, who is also a goalscorer of note, will be challenging for the Bafana Bafana international. Gbenga has one appearance in the Champions League and has a single goal next to his name, which he netted against Fomboni.

Themba Zwane vs Peter Adeshina

Mosimane will have to call on his creative midfielder to provide options in the final third where they will look to secure a crucial away goal. ‘Mshishi’ is not a stranger to continental football as he has always carried the Brazilians’ ambitions when it comes to bringing glory and opening up stubborn defences. In this game, Zwane will face off against Nigeria’s Adeshina, who has been a key figure for the Island side as he forms a deadly partnership with Kizito. Although Adeshina is yet to score in the tournament, he was instrumental in their match-up against Fomboni.

Lebogang Maboe vs Benoit Marie

Although Maboe is still adjusting to his role as a number nine, he is one of the most improved players at Sundowns since his arrival from Maritzburg United last season. He is yet to place his name on the scoresheet this term, but his ability to create space for the midfielders will be vital in Seychelles. However, the battle against Marie will be an interesting one. Marie is one of the stalwarts in the hosts’ defence and the 26-year-old will look to neutralise his opponent and reach the next stage of the competition.

 

 

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