2022/23 Caf CL: Sundowns, Ahly pick healthy first-leg advantage

Mamelodi Sundowns and record champions Al Ahly picked comfortable winning margins in the first leg ties of their 2022/23 Caf Champions League quarterfinal duels this weekend and are heading to next weekend’s return fixtures with one foot into the last eight.

South Africa’s Sundowns, winners of the 2016 edition were in smashing form as they earned a massive 4-1 win over Algeria’s CR Belouizdad at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers.

The huge away day victory for Masandawana sees them grasp a firm advantage heading into the weekend return duel at home.

Head coach Rulani Mokwena was delighted with the performance of his side but despite the good win, has warned that it is only halftime.

“A lot of credit and respect must go to the players, big personalities and big performances. Lots of humility, we beat a very good side, we still have to face a very good side in Pretoria. A top coach, top players and it’s only half way,” said the tactician.

He added; “The game was about small details and will always be about small details when you get to this level. We asked for lots of concentration and lots of sacrifice, the players also worked very, very hard in watching the opposition videos so we knew a lot about the opposition.”

Record champions Al Ahly, who lost last year’s finals to Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club also earned a healthy first leg win.

The Red Devils beat Raja Club Athletic of Morocco 2-0 in Cairo, in what was a repeat of last season’s quarter final. Ahly now need to go to Morocco and avoid defeat to ensure passage to the last eight.

Last season, they won the first leg 2-1 and ended up drawing 1-1 in the return tie in Casablanca.

Meanwhile, holders Wydad were handed defeat on the road as they lost 1-0 to Tanzania’s Simba Sports Club in Dar es Salaam.

Simba are looking to progress to the last eight for the first time since 1974 when the tournament was known as the African Cup Champions Clubs and avoiding defeat in a tough hunting ground in Casablanca will be crucial in their ambition.

Elsewhere, just like Simba, Esperance also earned a slim win, beating JS Kabylie of Algeria 1-0 in Algiers.

With an away victory, Esperance will be favorites heading into the return fixture at home in Rades this weekend.

© Cafonline

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