Mamelodi Sundowns take on Al Ahly SC in an all-important CAFCL group stage game in Cairo this evening.
While the Brazilians will be looking to make it three wins in a row, Al Ahly SC are searching for their first win after losing their opening game 1-0 against Al Hilal Ondurman.
A wounded Al Ahly, playing at home, will pose a major threat to Mamelodi Sundowns.
But there are important facets of the game that if Sundowns can do well, the Red Devils threat can be minimized.
The encounter is most likely going to be a tight affair. Set-pieces might play a crucial role in deciding the result that is where Al Ahly may be lethal.
Mamelodi Sundowns will have to be on their toes when defending against them, and Rulani Mokwena is well aware of that fact.
“I can tell you they’re a team that has technically very good players that play in positions, where you need important players to decide the result and Abdelkader, Sherif, Afsha, Percy, and Abdelmonem at center-back, important for them with regards to set-pieces,” he said.
Fortunately for the Brazilians, they have Michael Loftman, their set-play coach who would have done due diligence with the team when it comes to this critical part of the game.
Counter-pressing will be another important factor for Downs.
They will have to execute it to perfection during their defensive transitions if they are to minimize the threat Al Ahly possesses on the counter attack.
Given an opportunity, Al Ahly can execute swift break attacks at lightning speed, which might leave the likes of Mvala and Kekana exposed at the back.
Downs will have to close down the Red Devils higher up the pitch as quick and effective as possible.
Winning the ball often in Al Ahly’s half will also have a ripple effect for Mamelodi Sundowns when it comes to creating good goal scoring opportunities.
The more they win the ball higher up the pitch, the better.
Also Read: Al Ahly SC: The Ultimate Test For Downs
Looking after the ball in central areas.
Against CotonSport, Sundowns conceded a goal after losing the ball in the center of the pitch.
The worrying factor is that it didn’t happen only once, but on a few occasions.
Against a clinical, quality side like Al Ahly, such errors cannot go unpunished.
The Brazilians will have to take better care of the ball in crucial areas.
If Mokwena’s men can do well in the above three factors, the battle will be 80% won.