- Al Merrikh overturned a 3-0 first leg defeat last year
- They have an impressive home record
Township Rollers will head into the second leg of their CAF Champions League preliminary round encounter against Al Merrikh with a comfortable 3-0 lead tomorrow (Wednesday). Goals from Mosha Gaolaolwe, Edwin Moalosi and Segolame Boy mean that Rollers are one foot into the next round of the competition.
The first leg encounter proved that Rollers were a class above the Sudanese club as they breezed through the National Stadium held clash.
However, as impressive as Rollers’ win was, the defeat might have been just a bad day at the office for Al Merrikh who are not strangers to overturning large deficits. Rollers should maintain the same intensity and commitment they showed in the first leg in order to keep their lead intact and progress to the first round.
Al Merrikh boasts an impressive home record in the CAF Champions League, last season they finished third in the group stages, only a point away from qualifying for the semifinals. They won four of their five home games in the entire 2017 CAF Champions League campaign.
The highlight of their campaign, which could also serve as a warning for Rollers, was their 4-3 aggregate win over Nigerian club Rivers United in the first round. The odds were heavily stacked Al Merrikh as they lost 3-0 against Rivers United in the first leg in Nigeria. Al Merrikh then recorded a remarkable comeback as they won 4-0 at home to win the tie 4-3 and progress to the prestigious group stage.
A hat-trick from Bakri Al-Madina and a late goal from Amir Kamal rounded off an impressive comeback for the Sudanese outfit. The club’s home stadium, the Al Merrikh Stadium, has a capacity of 40 000 and the fans often set up a hostile atmosphere for visiting clubs.
The possibly intimidating atmosphere has helped sway games in their favour in recent years. Provided Rollers win the tie, they will face either Tanzanian club Young Africans or Saint Louis Suns United of Seychelles next month.