Petro de Luanda will host Mamelodi Sundowns in Luanda on Saturday evening as the Angolan champions look to make the most of their home ground advantage for a head start in the second quarter final match of the inaugural African Football League (AFL).
The Angolan champions have been on a positive start to the season, with victories over Mozambican side UD Songo lifting them into the group stages of the CAF Champions League.
Head coach Alexandre Santos will look to charge up his boys to ensure they win at home to make the return tie burden lighter.
Speaking previously, the tactician said they will prepare well for the tournament, with the opening game against Sundowns.
“We are facing the best teams in Africa and we have to be strong in every aspect and moments of the game. The small details will be very important because they can make a difference at this high level. But we will be ready to compete,” the coach said.Petro and Sundowns have met four times, with the returns evenly poised between them. Each has a win, while the remaining two matches ended in draws.
Their last meeting was in April last year in the return tie of their CAF Champions League quarter final duel, where they played to a 1-1 draw in Pretoria. Petro progressed to the semis, having beaten them 2-1 when they met in the first leg in Luanda.
They had earlier on met in the 2019-20 group stage, where Sundowns won the first leg in Pretoria 3-0 and they drew 2-2 in the corresponding fixture in Luanda.
Still on a continental sojourn but on a different tournament, the two sides meet again on Saturday evening.
Sundowns come into the fixture off a defeat in the Carling Knockout tournament against TS Galaxy, where they lost on penalties.
But what will be more encouraging for coach Rulani Mokwena heading into the duel in Angola, will be the character his boys showed against Galaxy, where they came from 2-0 down to draw the game 2-2 with a last gasp equalizer, despite going on to lose on spot kicks.
Prior to that, Sundowns had been on a winning streak that stretched all the way back to April. Their last defeat was in a Cup game against Stellenbosch.
Players to watch:
Petro skipper Tiago Azulao has always been the team’s talisman straight from league matches to continental games, and the veteran Brazilian will once again be the man to watch offensively for the team. Not only is he efficient infront of goal, but his leadership on and off the pitch has also been a huge part of Petro’s success.
Azulao scored on both home and away legs when these two sides last met.
For Sundowns, their go-to man will be forward Themba Zwane, nicknamed Mshishi. The South African international has a knack of unlocking tough games and is expected to rise to the occasion on a tough away trip.