Johannesburg (AFP) – Title-holders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco are among four clubs who could secure CAF Champions League quarter-finals places this weekend.
A matchday-five home victory over Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa would ensure two-time champions Wydad qualify from Group C with a game to spare.
Record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt, Mouloudia Alger of Algeria and Primeiro Agosto of Angola are the other sides in the running for last-eight slots.
Esperance and Etoile Sahel of Tunisia and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo — all former champions — have already booked places in the quarter-finals draw.
AFP Sport takes a group-by-group look at the penultimate round of mini-league matches this Friday and Saturday in the elite African club competition.
Ahly have won their last two away matches against great rivals Esperance so they will be confident of improving on a goalless home draw against the Tunis outfit three months ago.
Both teams are in good form after back-to-back victories over Township Rollers of Botswana and Kampala Capital City Authority of Uganda respectively.
“My target is simply to win every match,” stressed recently appointed Patrice Carteron, the first French coach of the Cairo Red Devils.
With five-time champions Mazembe safely through, Algerian teams Mouloudia and Entente Setif are fighting for second place while winless Difaa el Jadida of Morocco bring up the rear.
Setif have improved since a 4-1 matchday-one hiding in DR Congo and a point at home in the reverse fixture would keep them in contention.
Mouloudia, who were crowned African champions 42 years ago, hope to at least draw in El Jadida before hosting Setif later this month.
Wydad confront Sundowns in a clash of the last two CAF Champions League title-holders and tradition suggests a low-scoring affair in the Moroccan commercial capital.
They met in a 2017 quarter-final with each club winning 1-0 at home before Wydad squeezed through on penalties, and they drew 1-1 in Pretoria last May.
Should the South Africans lose they are likely to be replaced in second place by Horoya of Guinea, who enjoy home advantage against strugglers Port of Togo.
If Primeiro want to reach the last eight with a match to spare, they will have to win at Etoile Sahel and bank on Zesco Untied of Zambia defeating Mbabane Swallows in eSwatini.
But given that the Angolans were held at home by the Tunisians and 2016 semi-finalists Zesco have underperformed this season, it is an unlikely scenario.