Al Ahly v Downs preview


The Cairo International Stadium awaits a big CAF Champions League quarterfinal clash between the Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns at 18:00 CAT.

This match comes at the back of a 5-1 aggregate trouncing that the hosts received from the traveling ‘Brazilians’ in the same competition last year, but the encounter in Cairo, Egypt promises a different outlook and outcome.

FARPost Technical Study Group takes the pleasure of unbundling the match from an informed technical perspective.

1. Simultaneous picking

Al Ahly enters the battle from a confident position as they lead the Egyptian League race by 16 points from 16 matches and a whopping 42 goal difference.

As for Sundowns their league race has gathered the necessary steam in the PSL log where they trail the runaway leaders Kaizer Chiefs by a mere 4 points (20 matches played, 41 points and goal difference of 14).

Hence the two sides come into this clash in the right frame of mind and confidence.

2. Tactical approaches

The Egyptian side are a solid and tactically organized outfit with a remarkable ability of play structured and open at the right match opportunities.

Their Swiss coach Rene Weiler alternates between a systematic 1-4-2-3-1 offensive approach and a robust mechanical 1-4-3-3 attacking style that is spearheaded by Junior Ajayi and Walid Soliman.

Al Ahly can play quiet (with a defensive strata) and aggressive (with overloading wingers) aimed at stifling the opponents wide areas completely.

The South African league champions are superior and a class act, and oozes confidence and style all round.

Pitso Mosimane has seen the movie countless times before and his colossal knowledge of the African landscape makes him a shrewd tactician.

Their approach mimics the ‘Samba’ style of possession, fluid movements, enterprising interplays, collective combination play and overall superior technical arrogance.

Mosimane’s Sundowns play tactically free, relatively possession conscious and within a surrogate 1-4-4-2 or a 1-4-4-1-1 attacking style with or without a static No9.

3. The Main Actors

We have already alluded to the presence and danger poised by Ajayi and Soliman… The ‘Brazilians’ on the opposite corner have a plethora of talent in their domain but the nippy and highly talented Gaston Sirino is a top-class athlete. Sirino is brave, ultra-skillful and torments any opponent regardless of size and physicality.

He can play as a false No9, on the wing, inside midfield structure and majestically between the lines. Sirino was not part of the team that won the 2016 CAF title and his burning desire to lift this cup is still fresh.

4. Conclusion

The scene is set for a mammoth clash, and whether Ahly can banish the humiliating defeat of 2019 or Sundowns will harmer the Egyptians again, only time will confirm.

By FARPost Reporters

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