Downs hope for third time lucky

Sundowns play the first leg of this CAF Champions League second round tie away on Sunday afternoon (16h30) at the Stade Tata-Raphael and will then host the return leg at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday, April 19.

The Brazilians will come into this latest meeting with Congo’s most popular club carrying the load of having failed to proceed on the two occasions that Vita have been the hurdle.

Sundowns first met Vita when the Champions League was still known as the African Cup of Champions Clubs as far back as 1994 after they had won the NSL First Division the previous year during the times when the domestic calendar ran on a full calendar year.

Just like they will do now Sundowns started away first and just like that clash 22 years ago was at the second round stage of the competition.

Vita won that first leg on May 1, 1994 on a 2-1 score-line in the country formerly known as Zaire.

Fired up for the second leg Sundowns won 3-2 at home two weeks later for a 4-4 aggregate result but were knocked out on the away goals’ rule as Vita had scored more goals away from home than The Brazilians.

Sundowns and Vita met again in a 2009 CAF Confederation Cup second round tie with The Brazilians playing in this second-tier competition by virtue of having won the Nedbank Cup the previous year.

Sundowns started off with a 2-2 draw at home with Kurt Lentjies and Collins Mbesuma on target in a game that The Brazilians knew they had to win to enhance their chances of progressing to the Play-Offs round.

The Brazilians then fell to a solitary strike in the away match in Kinshasa which took them out of the competition 2-3 on aggregate.

So as it stands Sundowns have not been able to get past Vita in two previous attempts but will feel they can overcome the Vita hurdle this time buoyed by their domestic run.

After discarding of Mafunzo from Zanzibar 4-0 on aggregate – Vita then had to labour past Mozambican champions Ferroviario de Maputo in the first round, coming out uninspiring 2-1 aggregate winners.

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