Yeeesss! The CAF Champions League group phase is at the halfway stage. We are that much closer to finding out who the winner of CAFCL 19/20 will be.
A lot of things got overturned over the just ended match-day. We had teams lose momentum, others lost their way completely and a few reinvigorated their campaigns.
Do you want to know which is which? Read the 4 lessons we picked from match-day 3.
The next CAFCL match-day will be on the weekend of 10th to 12th January, 2020.
1. USM Alger has been a let down
Group C was the “group of death” when the CAFCL draw was done. Unfortunately, USM Alger has been a massive disappointment. It is bad enough that the Algerian team has not won any match even this far into the group stage. They have only picked 2 points out of a possible 9.
The clincher, 2 of their next 3 matches will be away to Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca. I do not have much hope for their chances at a miraculous comeback. Do you?
2. Is Sundowns now the team to avoid?
Last time out, we sang praises for TP Mazembe, Etoile Sahel and Esperance Tunis. The trio had maintained their 100% records. This time round we are humming to a different tune. Mamelodi Sundowns has been impressive enough as to cause that.
The South African team has survived visits to North Africa, unscathed. Pitso Mosimane’s men drew in Casablanca and managed to get a win in Blida. We predicted that…
In fact, Sundowns is closing in on an early finish as group winners. No number 2 will want to meet them. But let’s wait and see.
3. No dark horses this year
A tournament cannot be fun if there is no that one overachieving team. It looks like the CAF Champions League will not be giving us such a team this season. In Group D, JS Kabylie are losing all their away matches as we anticipated. In Group A, ZESCO Utd and Primeiro Agosto are underwhelming.
Our only hope lies with Al Hilal Omdurman. The Sudan side managed a hugely upsetting win against Etoile Sahel. And they will have the opportunity to create distance between them when they play host in the next encounter. Cross your fingers!
4. 6 teams from 3 countries
The reason that the CAFCL group stage was expanded to involve more countries in this tournament, in a bigger way. We could be on our way to a shocker, though, this season if things continue as they are. We are on our way to having 6 of the quarterfinal teams coming from just 3 countries. Yes they are all North African countries:
🇪🇬Egypt: Al Ahly and Zamalek are second in their respective groups
🇲🇦Morocco: Wydad and Raja Casablance are second in their respective groups
🇹🇳Tunisia: Esperance Tunis and Etoile Sahel are first in their respective groups