AmaZulu quietly confident of an upset in DRC
Mazembe under pressure to ensure they don't concede
TP Mazembe may look to have the upper hand due to their experience in the CAF Champions League, but AmaZulu are motivated that they are one match away from reaching the group stages for the first time in their history.
Usuthu head into the match at TP Mazembe Stadium in Lubumbashi for the Champions League second preliminary round return leg tomorrow (4pm) with the advantage of having not conceded at home last week after a goalless draw.
Mazembe will be under pressure to make sure they don’t concede at home.
While they are sure to receive a hostile atmosphere in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Benni McCarthy’s charges must take solace in that other SA teams went there and came back with a positive result.
Last season in the same competition, Mamelodi Sundowns came back from the DRC 2-1 victors after a late free-kick by Lyle Lakay, and AmaZulu are capable of scoring away, having done so in Malawi when they overturned a 1-0 defeat to win 3-1 against Nyasa Big Bullets.
Mazembe are no longer as fearful as they used to be in the past and this can give Usuthu a chance of scoring an away goal and putting the pressure on them.
But the five-time African champions have been exposed to this before in the continental competitions and should be given the respect they deserve.
After turning Usuthu from perennial relegation candidates to runners-up in the Premiership last season, McCarthy brought a sense of belief to the club and his charges that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.
One of the challenges Usuthu will face is playing on artificial turf, but McCarthy insists they will be ready for that. “We’ve never played on an artificial pitch before. Mazembe are very strong at home because of those conditions,” McCarthy told the media.
“They know the pitch inside out while most teams don’t. That’s why it’s difficult to go there and get a positive result.
“But we want to go into the group stages and we are one match away now from achieving that. We will go all out in this match.”
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