It’s do or die for Kaizer Chiefs in CAF Champions League final fixture
The Champions League has been a welcome buffer for Amakhosi amid their domestic woes, and they’ll be hoping to make it to the next round of the tournament against a tricky Horoya side.
“The boys are in good spirits. We are ready to go and want to do well in the Champions League since we are not doing well in the league at the moment. We are all ready and excited.”
These are the musing of Kaizer Chiefs defensive midfielder Kearyn Baccus going into their crunch tie against Guinea’s Horoya in the CAF Champions League.
The two sides head into their final group game level on eight points, knowing a victory will guarantee that they join the already qualified Wydad Casablanca.
For Chiefs, other than a win, they will need a scoring draw, while a nil-all stalemate will be enough for Horoya to secure passage to the knockout rounds – thanks to their slightly superior goal difference.
With the teams having drawn 0-0 in the first round, another goalless result would eliminate the secondary separating criteria when teams end on the same number of points in the group phase of the competition.
The rule is that the team with the best goal difference in the two group matches between the concerned sides progresses.
According to the rules of Confederation of African Football (CAF):
20. In case of equality of points between two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be using the following criteria as per the order listed below:
20.1. The greatest number of points obtained in the matches between the concerned teams. 20.2. The best goal difference in the matches between then the concerned teams.
20.3. The greatest number of scored goals in the away matches between the concerned teams.
20.4. The goal difference from all the matches played in the group.
20.5. The greatest number of goals scored in all group matches.
A score draw is crucial for Amakhosi since it will see them advance on rule 20.3.
Their tails will be up as they have gone six games undefeated in all competitions, a run which also saw them secure an important three points versus current Group C leaders Wydad a week ago.
Granted, the Moroccans fielded a weakened side due to already having qualified for the quarters, but Gavin Hunt’s men still put on a good show to grab the much-needed points.
According Amakhosi right back Reeve Frosler, they will use that result as a springboard heading into this make-or-break fixture.
“We’re feeling confident‚ feeling good. You look at the last result in the CAF [Champions League], it was a good result for us. So, we’ll take that confidence into the next game and hopefully we can continue to do well in the competition,” said Frosler.
Horoya have won three of their last five matches and are a perennially tricky side to face on home soil in the Champions League, having last tasted defeat at home in 2014.
“I think for us the most important thing is to stay confident in ourselves‚ and trust our ability that‚ yes‚ we’re playing away so it will be a different ball game; but we’ve got to be patient and know that we can do it‚” Frosler added
However, just like Amakhosi, they have struggled for consistency domestically this season.
In their eight games played to date, they have won three, drawn three and lost two. That has left them 11th on the log, although they have played five fewer games than first-placed Wakirya, whom they trail by 13 points.
The game between the two knockout-round hopefuls kicks off at 9pm on Saturday.
The sky’s the limit
South Africa’s other representatives in the competition, Mamelodi Sundowns, have already sealed qualification as the first-placed team in their group. They won four of their five games and drew one.
In the final group game Masandawana will face Belouizdad of Algeria at home on Friday afternoon.
In the reverse fixture Masandawana were dominant, pummelling their opponents 5-1. And they’ll be looking for a similar showing to carry that momentum into the quarterfinals.
“From a psychological perspective, we want to make sure we get to the knockout stages on a good winning momentum, so that we have the conviction that we can win in Africa and that is important. When you get to the knockout stages there are no second chances,” said Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena. DM
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