Mosimane has the option of resting key players against AS Vita Club

03 July 2017 - 17:07
By Mark Gleeson
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. File photo.
Image: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. File photo.

Mamelodi Sundowns cannot be overtaken for a place in the top two of their African Champions League group even if they lose their last game this weekend but hopes of a top place finish in their group are limited.

The 1-0 win away over St George on Saturday means Sundowns are through.

St George can catch them next weekend on points but because Sundowns have the head-to-head advantage over the Ethiopians they have already progressed to the knockout phase.

It leaves coach Pitso Mosimane with the option of resting key players on Sunday when Sundowns complete their campaign with a home fixture against AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The match is at Atteridgeville on Sunday at 7pm‚ an unusual and inconvenient kick off time for spectators but dictated by the Confederation of African Football who are co-ordinating the timing of the last round of group games and concluding the various groups at the same time to avoid any duplicity.

With Esperance at home to St George‚ it is likely the Tunisians will consolidate top place‚ leaving Sundowns in second.

That means the Brazilians play at home in the first leg of their quarter-final tie next month against the winner of group D.

That will be either Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca or Zanaco of Zambia who are all set for a grandstand finish on Saturday.

Record winners Al Ahly are also in the mix but the best they can do is finish second‚ which would mean they will likely play Esperance in the last eight.

Sundowns would likely be much happier to take on Zanaco than Wydad as it involves shorter travel and a much lesser experienced opponent.

Zanaco are the surprise package of the group phase and unbeaten in their five games and need only a draw in Casablanca. But that might prove harder than expected.

The Champions League quarter-final are in September.

The first legs are on the weekend of September 8-10.

The second leg is on the weekend of September 15-17.

- TimesLIVE