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Football | CAF Champions League

Collins Mbesuma © Gallo Images

Mazembe braced for Pirates storm



TP Mazembe host Orlando Pirates in Lubumbashi on Sunday fighting for their CAF Champions League survival.

The DR Congo side trail Pirates 3-1 from their second round, first leg match played on April 20 in Johannesburg.

A draw, defeat or a 1-0 home win will see Mazembe fail to qualify to the Champions League group stage for the first time in six years.

The last time Mazembe failed to make it to the group stage was in 2007 when FAR Rabat of Morocco eliminated them 2-1 on aggregate at the same stage.

But since losing to Pirates, Mazembe have picked up two league wins with the major highlight coming in their lastu game when they beat arch rivals AS Vita 2-1 on April 28.

Mazembe coach Lamine Ndiaye said the win over Vita has given them confidence to pick up the two unanswered goals they need to win on away goals rule.

"We will have a different approach next Sunday, where our first mission will be to come back from two goals down," said Ndiaye.

"This victory allows the players to prepare for this very important match."

Meanwhile, Pirates travel to Lubumbashi on a low after losing 1-0 at home against Chippa United in an Absa Premiership game on April 30.

However, Coach Roger De Sa's form in Africa has been a total contrast to that on the home front where they enjoy a one hundred per cent run in five games.

Pirates though will be without striker Takesure Chinyama who is out for five weeks with a calf injury.

But midfielder Sifiso Myeni will be a major boost following his recent return from long-term injury that he capped with Pirates lone goal in their 1-0 win over Bidvest Wits at Mbombela Stadium on April 27.

And the overall winner over both legs is set to go into the CAF Champions League group draws to be conducted on May 7 in Cairo ahead of the pool matches that kickoff during the weekend of July 19-20.

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