Al Ahly, Mamelodi Sundowns to renew rivalry in CAF Champions League quarterfinal

TOPSHOT - This picture shows the trophy prior to the draw of the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) Champions league at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cairo on December 28, 2018. (Photo by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)

Defending champions Al Ahly will face Mamelodi Sundowns in the standout tie of the CAF Champions League quarterfinals following the draw for the knockout phase of this season’s competition.

The tie is a rematch of last year’s semi-final which the Egyptian side triumphed 3-1 on aggregate as it went on to win a record-extending ninth title.

FILE PHOTO: A picture of the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Champions League trophy. (Photo credit MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)

The two sides also met in April 2019 at this stage with the South African side famously eliminating the Egyptian side 5-1 on aggregate.

Sundowns memorably thrashed Al Ahly 5-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in the first leg of that quarterfinal. That was Al Ahly’s heaviest continental defeat and a 1-0 win at home in the second leg was not enough to see the Egyptians through.

Overall, the two sides have met each other eight times, all in the Champions League, with Al Ahly triumphing on four occasions, and Sundowns winning just once, while three games have been drawn. Neither side has defeated the other away from home.

The match will also have added significance for Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane who will come up against Sundowns for the first time since his stunning departure from Sundowns in September last year.

Mosimane left Sundowns after eight years in charge, having won five league titles and the CAF Champions League title in 2016.

Mosimane’s departure came as a shock as he had signed a four-year contract extension with the club just four months earlier following protracted speculation about his future.

Another person who may have a point to prove in this tie will be Sundowns midfielder Gaston Sirino, who failed to land a move to the Egyptian champions in December.

In July last year, Sirino had signed a new long-term deal with Sundowns which keeps him at the club until 2025 but he then fell foul of the club later, reportedly expressing his desire to leave and link up with Mosimane.

Though Al Ahly tried to land his signature, Sundowns terminated negotiations in December saying the clubs had failed to agree on a transfer fee for the Uruguayan.

The other quarterfinals will see four-time champions Esperance of Tunisia face off against Algeria’s CR Belouizdad, who are making their debut in the competition’s knockout phase.

Tanzanian giants Simba will be hoping to match their best showing in the competition by reaching the semifinals when they come up against Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa.

Two-time winners Wydad Athletic Club, meanwhile, will face off against former champions MC Alger.

The first legs of the quarterfinals will take place between May 14-15 while the second legs will take place between May 21-22.

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