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Sudan’s Merrikh in battle with destiny to make Champions League quarters

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Merrikh vs Belouizdad. PHOTO/CAF
  • AL Merrikh are placed bottom in Group D
  • They have to beat Esperance to keep their dreams alive
  • Zamalek face CR Belouizdad in the other match in the group

Sudanese giants Al Merrikh will have a date with destiny Friday night when they take on Tunisia’s Esperance in their penultimate group match of the CAF Champions League. Merrikh are placed bottom of Group D with four points, but still have hopes of qualifying to the last eight if they can earn three points at home.

They will be hosting Esperance in Libya, which has been their preferred home ground for the Champions League. Tunisia’s Esperance lead the group with nine points, three ahead of second placed CR Belouizdad.

For them, they will qualify to the last eight with a win and coming off last weekend’s heavy 3-1 loss at the hands of Zamalek, they will be all out to make amends.

They beat Merrikh by a solitary goal when they faced off in the first leg and the Sudanese will be aiming to avenge for that loss with a crucial three points.

Meanwhile in the other match in the group, second placed CR Belouizdad will host Zamalek in a feisty North African derby. Zamalek come into the return fixture in Algeria beaming with immense confidence if their performance in the 3-1 victory against Esperance last weekend is anything to go by.

CRB also high in confidence 

Belouizdad also come into the game on the backdrop of victory, having beaten Merrikh 1-0 last weekend.

If both Esperance and Belouizdad win their matches, they will both confirm their places in the quarter finals.

Meanwhile, record champions Al Ahly will have a date with destiny when they travel away to Cotonsport in Garoua. The Egyptian giants are facing the danger of failing to make the quarter finals as destiny is not in their hands in Group B.

They are placed third with four points and must win against Cotonsport and hope the other results go their way.

Mamelodi Sundowns lead the group and already have their place in the quarters guaranteed,. They play a crucial match as far as the destiny of the group is concerned. They will take on Al Hilal in Omdurman, with the second placed side seeking to usurp them on top of the group.

Sundowns lead with 10 points 

Masandawana are on 10 points while Hilal are on nine.

Record champions Ahly are in danger of missing out on a place in the last eight if Hilal earn maximum points against Sundowns. The Egyptian giants are on four points having lost last weekend to Sundowns 5-2 in Pretoria.

A win for Hilal, regardless of Ahly’s result away in Cameroon, will essentially close out the group and the last match day will be a battle of who finishes top in the group.

Sundowns beat Hilal 1-0 in Pretoria in the first leg while last season, when they met in the same stage, the South Africans went off with a 4-2 away day win. Hilal will hope lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place.

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