Al Hilal begin their quest to finally win a CAF Champions League with a tough test away to Sundowns. Masandawana may have lost Pitso Mosimane but remain one of the competition’s pre-tournament favorites.

Probable Sundowns XI: Onyango – Maboe, Nascimento, Lebusa, Lakay – Coetzee – Sirino, Mkhulise, Jali, Zwane – Shalulile (4-1-4-1).

Probable Hilal XI: Salim – Abu Bagla, Ouattara, Bishaa, Boya – Eid Mogadam, Jesi, Shegail, Hamed – Bongonga, Eldai (4-4-2).

The match is scheduled to take place on the 13th of February at the Loftus Versfield Stadium. 

What is at stake?

Mamelodi Sundowns ended last season’s competition as quarter finalists. They looked like they were going to accomplish more after finishing the group stage undefeated last season. It didn’t work out for them. And now they not only have to survive a group of death again but also show that they can survive without Pitso

Al Hilal Omdurman have proven to be a formidable side away from home in recent CAFCL games. But the manner in which they lost to Simba SC in the Simba Super Cup raises questions about their quality this season. The eternal dark horses may end up being whipping boys this season. This match against Sundowns will be a predictor of things to come. 

What will the Match be Like?

Sundowns co-coaches, Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mngqithi have largely lined up their squad in a 3-4-3 or 4-1-4-1 so far this season.

Al Hilal have largely used a 4-4-2 this season and they are expected to continue with the set up against the South African side.

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Eyes are expected to be on Sundowns striker, Peter Shalulile who has been in impressive form of late. Al Hilal will parade much talked about new signings Ibrahima Ndaiye and Vinny Bongonga for the Pretoria test. 

Prediction

Sundowns 2-1 Al Hilal 

Expect Mamelodi Sundowns to win, but not without a few scares from the Sudanese side.