CAF Champions League
Al Merriekh vs Express FC
Al Ubayyid Stadium, Al Obayed
Sunday, 19-09-2021 @8pm
Express FC will be hoping to complete the task, when they take on Sudanese side Al Merriekh in their CAF Champions League preliminary round second leg on Sunday.
The Red Eagles head into the game leading 2-1 from the first leg and will be confident they can get the job done.
Express are in their first appearance in the competition since 1997 and will want to go as far as possible in the competition.
The Red Eagles have been in scintillating form since the start of last season.
Wasswa Bbosa’s side won their first Uganda Premier League title since 2012, losing just two of their 26 games.
They are in the semi finals of the Uganda Cup where they play BUL FC later this month.
The Red Eagles have another title already in the bag as they triumphed for the first time in the CECAFA Kagame Cup, in Tanzania, last month.
The Champions league provides a different level of competition but Express will feel they can do a decent job especially in the initial stages.
For Al Merriekh, they are perennial participants in the CAF Champions League
They have reached the lucrative group stages of the competition twice in the last five years.
The Sudanese side reached the semi finals of the competition in 2015 and will feel confident of getting the better of Express despite losing the first leg.
However, they looked shell shocked by the attitude of the Red Eagles and will want to take care of their home tie so as to avoid a an early elimination.
Express have no major injury issues with all the 18 players that travelled, fit and ready to feature on Sunday. The duo of Nicholas Kasozi and Dues Bukenya are not part of the team so they will continue awaiting their debut. Coach Wasswa Bbosa will once again watch from the stands as he lacks the necessary documentation to allow him take charge of the game.
For Al Merriekh, they will be without defender Amir Kamal who is out injured. The Sudanese side are also sweating over the fitness of Ramadhan Shareif who got injured in the just-concluded international window. However, they have welcomed back a host of players who missed the first leg and will be close to full-strength on Sunday.
This will be the 6th meeting between the two sides. All the previous four match-ups between them came in the Africa Cup Winners Cup in 1992 and 1993.
Al Merriekh have the upper hand as they have progressed past Express on both occasions. They defeated the Red Eagles 2-1 on aggregate in 92 and 3-2 over two legs in 1993.
Express want to use their first leg advantage so as to eliminate the Sudanese side, this time round. The Sudanese side have also faced other Ugandan sides including SC Villa, KCCA FC, Vipers SC and Mbale Heroes.
Their latest tie against a Uganda side was in 2019 when they took care of Vipers to progress into the qualification round of the Champions League on away goals following a 2-2 draw on aggregate.