Caf Champions League Group C Preview: Wydad and Sundowns eye their first wins of the group stage

Ismail El Haddad, Wydad Casablanca, May 2018
Following Masandawana and the defending Champions opening match day draw, both side will be determined to open their account

On Tuesday evening all eyes will once again fall on Group C in the Caf Champions League as the defending champions Wydad Casablanca host tournament newcomers Togo-Port.

The clash which is to take place at Wydad’s slaughterhouse Stade Mohammed V, promises to be a tough outing for the away side as the Moroccan’s have an impressive record at home. Wydad are currently unbeaten in their last nine home games with their most recent victory at home coming in the league against Hassania Agadir.

The North Africans look to have final found stability once again under the mentorship of Tunisian coach Faouzi Benzarti, but after walking away from Tshwane with a point in the bag following their 1-1 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns, Wydad will hope to crack on from there.

The Togolese outfit are likely to be met by a feisty atmosphere and their character will almost certainly be tested. They will however, take some lessons and perhaps some confidence out of their 2-1 closely fought defeat to Horoya. Issifou Bourahana will again be a dangerman from set pieces and Wydad will need to wary of the 26-year-old defender.

But on the side of Wydad, coach Benzarti is likely to field his strongest team, yet again spearheaded by their talisman Ismail El Haddad. This will give Togo-Port something to think about as they attempt to thwart his pace and physical nature.

Nonetheless, victory for Wydad could also see them move top of the pile should they win handsomely as leaders Horoya will only be in action on May 22.

The Guinean champions on the other end, welcome Mamelodi Sundowns to Stade 28 Septembre in the capital Conakry. Due to the Brazilians being in action against Spanish giants FC Barcelona, Caf have given Sundowns special dispensation to move their clash to a later date.

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Nevertheless, Sundowns will almost certainly have a point to prove as they head into the game having been crowned South African Premier Soccer league (PSL) champions for an eighth time. With the 2016 African champions’ season now over, following the game against Barca, their focus is likely to fall firmly on the continental clash.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane will hope to come out of the inter-club friendly unscathed and will hope that the club’s top scorer Percy Tau can continue his fine form. The important thing to note, is that Horoya’s previous exploits in the second-tier tournament means that they are not a closed book, and considering that they were in the same group as South African club SuperSport United last season, Mosimane is likely to call upon his rivals to give him the run down on what to expect.

While Sundowns along with Wydad are seen as favourites to qualify for the knockout round, Horoya cannot be taken for granted.  The Guinean champions have only lost one out of their last 10 games in all competitions which suggests that they will be stern opposition for the Tshwane giants.