Mamelodi Sundowns’ hopes of defending their title will hang by a mere thread should they not get a positive result in their Group C return leg against Esperance on Wednesday away in Tunis.
The Tunisian giants play host to the holders at the Stade Olympique de Rades after stealing a vital 2-1 away victory in Pretoria last month, a result that saw the defending champions lose ground in their title defence.
With each team having now played three matches, the Brazilians as Sundowns are nicknamed sit third in Group C with four points. Esperance lead the pack with seven points, two more than Ethiopian champions, Saint George. AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo languish at the bottom with no points.
The odds look to be stacked against Pitso Mosimane and his troops as a win in Tunisia will require them to dig deep.
Sundowns however welcomes Anthony Laffor, who returns from a hamstring injury that saw him watch his side’s 2-1 loss from the sidelines.
Also in line for a return is captain Hlompho Kekana, who withdrew from the Bafana Bafana camp recently after suffering a thigh strain.
Ahead of the must-win clash, a determined Laffor is adamant that anything less than a win would not be acceptable for their quest.
The game on Wednesday is one of the most important games we will be playing. Nothing less than a win will be acceptable and that is why we are not going for a draw. A win is the only option we can think of, said the Liberian-import.
The Brazilians could also be minus their Zimbabwean talisman, Khama Billiat, who is yet to recover from his ankle injury that has seen him miss out on both club and international duties.
In his absence, Mosimane will rely on skillful forwards, Themba Zwane and Percy Tau who were in fine form for South Africa in their 2-0 win over Nigeria last week in Uyo in the opening match of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2019 qualifiers, to unlock the stubborn Esperance defense.
Meanwhile, AS Vita will be looking for their maiden point in the other Group C match at home in Kinshasa on Tuesday.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football