CAF Champions League: Sundowns, Yanga lock horns with eye on potential semifinal encounter with Esperance

©Mamelodi Sundowns

CAF Champions League: Sundowns, Yanga lock horns with eye on potential semifinal encounter with Esperance

Festus Chuma 12:32 - 05.04.2024

Mamelodi Sundowns host Young Africans in a decisive CAF Champions League quarterfinal set to be played on Friday night.

South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns are set to host Tanzania's Young Africans in a crucial CAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg on Friday 5 April at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

The match, slated for an 9 pm East Africa Time kickoff, promises to be a thrilling encounter as both teams vie for a place in the competition's semifinals. 

The first-leg clash in Dar es Salaam concluded in a tense goalless draw, leaving everything to play for in the upcoming return match in Tshwane.

Sundowns re no strangers to continental glory, having clinched the CAF Champions Leagur title back in 2016. 

Since their memorable triumph, the team has twice reached the semifinals (in the 2018-19 and 2022-23 seasons) and appears more determined than ever to reclaim the continental crown. 

With the domestic league almost certainly secured for a seventh consecutive season, Sundowns are in a position to channel their focus and energy towards achieving success on the African stage.

Coach Rhulani Mokwena expressed unwavering confidence in his team's prospects.

 "Of course I will see Sundowns in the next round, I’m very confident about that, in fact," Mokwena remarked.

The gaffer acknowledged the challenge posed by Young Africans but believes his team performed commendably under the circumstances. 

"It is tough to play against Young Africans...But I think we were alright, we can be better but we were alright," he added.

On the other side, Young Africans, aiming to reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time in their history, have been buoyed by the return of key players Pacome Zouzoua and Khalid Aucho from injuries. 

Coach Miguel Angel Gamondi, with a history at Sundowns himself, is optimistic about his team's chances. 

"We have assembled a complete squad, ready to take on Mamelodi," he stated, highlighting the team's high spirit and readiness for the challenge.

The aggregate winner of this compelling tie will progress to face either Esperance de Tunis or ASEC Mimosas in the semifinals later in April, setting the stage for an exciting continuation of the CAF Champions League saga.

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