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CAF Champions League

Petro,Sundowns Ready For Quarterfinal Battle

Petro du Luanda and Mamelodi Sundowns will begin battle for a place in the CAF Champions League semifinals when they meet at the Estádio 11 de Novembro in Luanda on Saturday, kick-off at 16h00 GMT.

The teams’ first leg, quarterfinal clash promises to be a thrilling South African battle in which the 2016 African champions will seek a strong advantage to take with them to Pretoria next weekend.

Sundowns were impressive in the previous round as they topped Group A ahead of record champions Al Ahly and also have the honour of being the reigning South Africa title holders.

They currently lead their domestic league campaign with a 14 points lead ahead of second placed Royal AM and they come into the game after a 6-0 win over ninth placed Golden Arrows.

Rulani Mokwena, the Sundowns coach, will be expecting his charges to keep up with their brilliant form on Saturday when they meet with Pedro de Luanda in the quarter finals of the African elite competition.

“We are continuing with the journey and that continuation has brought us to Angola to play against a very good side in Petro. A well coached side with some very good players, very experienced players like [Ricardo] Job [Estévão] the number 11, (Jarade the 29, [Adriano Belmiro Duarte Nicolau] Yano the number 9 upfront [whom is] very aggressive, a box striker [that is] always looking to finish, the defensive midfielder [William da Silva] Soares the number 5, strong, aggressive and gives impetus to the team together with [Pedro Pessoa Miguel] the number 14,”Mokwena told his club website.

“A strong team, [they are] a very good opponent that plays the game the way we believe football should be played and in a certain way that has a very similar identity to us. They build from the back, they look to press from the top and they also look to dominate the game and have possession. We know what’s at stake and what lies ahead, ours is now to put the final preparations and be a bit more specific in our fine tuning of our schemes to be able to give ourselves the chance to be in South Africa in the second leg with a chance to progress to the semi-finals.”

Petro du Luanda secured their place in the last eight by finishing second behind Moroccan heavyweights Wydad Casablanca Group D, with a record of three wins, two draws and just one defeat.

The Angolan giants are coming into the match having won just two of their last five, losing a similar number, including a 5-1 humbling by Wydad Club Athletic in their last group match.

Petro are playing in the quarters for the first time since 2001 when they reached the semis. Their last two sojourns ended in the group phase.

Alexandre Santos, the Petro head coach, says ave nothing to fear from the South African champions, though he admits it will be a tough semifinal tie.

“[We need to be] very balanced offensively and defensively,” Santos said on Africa Top Sports.

“Because when it comes to the quarter-finals of the Champions League against opponents like this.

“We have to prepare fundamentally from the point of view of the ability to not to make mistakes and strategically, be able to nullify the strengths of Sundowns which are several.”

The return match is set for April 23 at FNB Stadiumin Pretoria. Moroccan referee Rédouane Jiyed will take charge of the action on Saturday afternoon.



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