STATS: CAF Quarter-Finals Weekend

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Kaizer Chiefs arrived in Tanzania looking to seal a CAF semi-final spot that would put the gloss to a difficult season under Gavin Hunt.

Already, reaching the quarter-final stage of the modern day CAF Champions League was a first for the club, and they are now just 90 minutes away from bettering that record – with a healthy 4-0 lead to defend from the first leg. Their Tanzanian hosts, Simba, were outclassed in the first leg, as Chiefs won by their biggest margin of victory in a home game in more than two years.

For Simba, there is little time to lick wounds – focus returns to avenging the Johannesburg humiliation.

2019 – The four-goal margin was Simba’s biggest losing margin in a competitive game since losing 5-0 to Al Ahly in February 2019.

It leaves the Tanzanian champions with a mountain to climb, and even that may be a bit of an understatement. The last time Simba came back to win after losing the first round of such an important encounter so heavily was in The Lion King. Seriously, the overall CAF Champions League record by sides losing the first leg at this stage is not pretty. Overcoming a 4-goal deficit is not impossible, but it will need a serious Chiefs collapse.

1 – Since the CAF Champions League knockout stage was expanded from four to eight teams in 2017, only one out of eight teams that won the quarter-final first leg at home has failed to progress to the semi-finals.

Will that trend continue?

Mamelodi Sundowns v Al Ahly

The side that failed to progress after winning the first leg was Sundowns in 2017.

They feature as the other South African representative remaining in the competition – a tie that also sees first-leg advantage for a South African coach. Except it’s Pitso Mosimane returning to home soil for the first time since moving to Egypt, and the first-leg win wasn’t as comprehensive. A year after leading Sundowns to their 10th PSL league title (La Decima), Mosimane is three steps away from leading Al Ahly to their 10th African Cup/CAF title.

9 – Al Ahly have won more African Cup/CAF Champions Leagues than any African side (9).

The Red Devils will carry a healthy 2-0 advantage going into the second leg, which was actually Sundowns’ first away defeat of the season.

The Brazilians have beaten Al Ahly before, and that was a 5-0 win in April 2019, the Egyptian club’s worst competitive defeat since 1942. Co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi will be hoping for more of the same – indeed, even three unanswered goals would be sufficient for Downs to progress. But it will be far from easy:

0 – No team has scored three goals against Al Ahly in any competitive match since the Sundowns 5-0 win in April 2019.

However, Sundowns will take heart from the fact that Al Ahly have a terrible record on South African soil. Since the PSL began in 1996/97, Ahly have faced six different South African sides in away games, to no avail:

0 – Ahly have never won a match away to a South African side in 11 attempts, drawing seven and losing four of those fixtures since 2001, while scoring just 6 goals.

The last six failures to win have all come in odd-numbered years – 2019 (L), 2017 (D), 2015 (L), 2013 (DD) and 2011 (L).

Will that trend continue?

Raja Casablanca v Orlando Pirates

On Sunday, Orlando Pirates face Raja Casablanca in search of their own semi-final ticket in the Confederation Cup. Although the 1st leg did not end in defeat, Pirates still conceded an away goal, and will have that to overcome in Morocco. Raja’s away goal gives them a slight advantage as things stand – something Pirates must match to stand a chance on Sunday.

1 – Pirates became the first side to score against Raja in the competition in seven matches – since Monastir (Tunisia) scored in the qualifiers in February.

The Buccaneers have not won any of their last seven away games, drawing four and losing three in all competitions. On the other hand, Raja have lost just once in 14 matches at home this year (Won 9 Drew 4), so Pirates will need to produce a performance worthy of the occasion to avoid being knocked out.

Bucs lost both legs to Raja back in 1997 (1-2 and 0-1), despite Steve Lekoelea scoring in the home leg, but will know they are in a better position to turn things around this time. Only one final in the last six editions of the tournament has not had either a South African or Moroccan side, with the North Africans dominating more recently.

3 – A Moroccan side has reached the final of the CAF Confederation Cup in each of the last three seasons.

Will that trend continue?

By Opta Jabu

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