CAF Champions League quarter-finals: five things to know
Johannesburg (AFP) – Striker Peter Shalulile of South African club Mamelodi Sundowns is in superb form ahead of the CAF Champions League quarter-final first leg against Petro Luanda in Angola on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Namibian this week became the first player to score hat-tricks in successive South African Premiership matches, and took his tally in all competitions this season to 27 goals.
Among the eight contenders, Sundowns, holders Al Ahly of Egypt, Raja and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco, Entente Setif of Algeria and Esperance of Tunisia won the marquee African club competition.
Here, AFP Sport highlights five things you need to know ahead of the first knockout stage kicking off on Friday when Setif host Esperance.
Since 2005, South Africa have not had such a consistent and clinical finisher as Shalulile, who scored 21 Premiership goals, three in domestic cups and three in the Champions League.
Zambian Collins Mbesuma scored 25 goals for champions Kaizer Chiefs 17 years ago – a record which will be surpassed if Shalulile scores at least five goals in Sundowns’ last five Premiership games.
Successive league hat-tricks, away to Swallows and at home to Golden Arrows, brought Sundowns within seven points of a fifth successive Premiership crown.
Champions League matches kick off at 13:00, 16:00 and 19:00 GMT on Fridays and Saturdays, but the rules have been relaxed due to Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.
The six quarter-final matches involving North African clubs will start between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. GMT to accommodate Muslim players, with some finishing almost an hour after midnight local time.
Muslim footballers are allowed to break the dawn-to-dusk fast during Ramadan, but few do, preferring to eat and drink at night before preparing for matches.
Mosimane against Jose
Retired Egyptian football stars differ over who is the best Ahly coach between Pitso Mosimane, a South African-born starter, and Portugal’s Manuel Jose, who has had three stints with the Cairo Red Devils .
Defender Wael Gomaa sees Jose, who won a record eight CAF titles between 2001 and 2008, as the best, but Ahmed ‘Mido’ Hossam backs Mosimane, the winner of six African titles.
It is widely believed that Jose had an advantage over Mosimane in that he managed arguably the greatest club team in African history, including goalkeeper Essam el Hadary, Gomaa and midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika.
Away goals remain
Unlike European governing body UEFA, which scrapped the away goals rule this season, Africa sticks to a system that doubles the value of away goals in the event of an away goal. Total equality after two matches.
However, only two of the 40 quarter-finals have been decided by away goals, in favor of USMA of Algeria and Primeiro Agosto of Angola, since the round of 16 stage was introduced there. has five seasons.
Penalties decided two more ties, a single goal split the clubs into seven others, while the widest margin of victory was five goals, achieved by Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.
Esperance share with Ahly and Wydad the distinction of advancing to the quarter-finals every season since their introduction in 2017.
The team, named after a café in Tunis where they were formed 103 years ago, are the only ones to have won twice home and away in the knockout stages of Africa’s premier competition of clubs.
This season, Esperance share with Sundowns the distinction of being unbeaten in Champions League qualifying and group matches while Setif have suffered five defeats in 10 matches.