CAF Champions League: Al-Ahly of Egypt and Wydad of Morocco are the closest to reaching the final
Friday – 12 Shawwal 1443 AH – 13 May 2022 AD Issue No. [
A snapshot of the first leg match between Al-Ahly of Egypt and ES Setif of Algeria (AFP)
Cairo: «Middle East»
Al-Ahly of Egypt, the defending champion in the last two seasons, and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco seem closest to reaching the final of the African Champions League in football, and they hope to avoid Rimontada against ES Setif of Algeria and Petro Atletico of Angola. Al-Ahly defeated the Algerian team 4-0 in the first leg in Cairo, while Wydad returned with an important victory from Petro Atletico 3-1 in Luanda. Wydad will meet its guest Petro today, while ES Setif will face its Al-Ahly guest tomorrow.
The African Confederation (CAF) granted Morocco the honor of hosting the final match on May 30, but this matter was not accepted by the Egyptian club, expressing strong objection and demanding to play “in a neutral stadium away from the four teams that are currently competing” in the semi-finals. Al-Ahly, which is seeking to become the first team to win the title in three successive editions and to consolidate the record for the number of titles (10 currently), is aware that facing ES Setif in the “July 5” stadium in the Algerian capital tomorrow, Saturday, will not be easy, especially since the host will be supported by thousands of his fans. .
And about the possibility of achieving Rimontada (a sudden return), the president of the Algerian club, Abdelhakim Sarr, said: “Al-Ahly did not make any effort during the first leg to beat us, he reached our goal with ease, and his players did not make any effort to win with a broad result.” He continued: “Al-Ahly is the most crowned in the African continent… I will not hide a secret from you that Rimontada and qualifying for the African Champions League final at Al-Ahly’s expense are almost impossible.”
In turn, the Serbian coach of Al-Wefaq, Darko Novic, stressed the need not to give up: “We were ready to face Al-Ahly, but individual errors at the level of all lines affected us … We should not give up, and we have to win here with any result and make a big game to rise quickly.” The “Black Eagle” prepared to face its Egyptian guest, with a wide win by seven clean points, over Sari Relizane in the local league, and he will miss the services of his veteran midfielder Amir Qarawi, who is suspended. Coach Novich relies on many experienced players, including former international leader Abdelmoumen Gabo, Akram Djehnit and goalkeeper Sofiane Khadaria.
On the other hand, Al-Ahly’s lineup will return to four players: Mohamed Abdel Moneim, Rami Rabia, Amr Al-Soliya and Mohamed Mahmoud, which will double the options of South African coach Pitso Mosimane, especially in the middle of the field, while Hossam Hassan, Salah Mohsen, Moroccan Badr Bannon and Ammar Hamdi continued to be away. and Akram Tawfiq. “We have not decided the qualification yet, we have to play the Algeria match and advance to the final from there, and I know that they will not let things pass easily for us,” Musimani said. For his part, player Mohamed Magdi (Afsha) confirmed the team’s readiness: “The qualification has not been decided. There is a second half in Algeria in the return match. We want to resolve it and achieve a positive result.” Mosimane hopes that fellow striker Percy Tau will continue his brilliance after scoring two goals and making a third in the first leg.
For the second time in forty days, Wydad hosts, aspiring to its third title after 1992 and 2017. Petro Atletico in Casablanca. Wydad Al-Umma had defeated its opponent in the sixth round of the group stage 5-1, before winning again last week 3-1 in the first leg of the semi-final. The Moroccan league leader fears any surprises, especially that the yellow team has a group of prominent players such as the Brazilian top scorer Thiago Azulao, the top scorer in the competition (7) and his compatriot Gleason.
Wydad coach Walid Rekraki told his players that the result of the match does not mean qualification and warned them against complacency: “The decision will be on the field and I will not allow the scenario of our suffering against Belouizdad to be repeated again (0-1 and zero-zero).” He added, “The place of the final match does not concern me. Playing in Dakar or in Istanbul or any other country does not concern us. We are ready for the fifth victory in a row and the Champions League, but let’s finish Petro’s story and ensure qualification first.”
Wydad is obsessed with the semi-final scenario of the last version when it was a strong candidate to reach the final, but it fell to Kaizer Chiefs, who qualified for the final before losing to Al-Ahly by three at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca. Regraki may miss the services of the offensive player Zuhair Al-Mutarji due to his injury in recent training, to join the Libyan winger Moayed Al-Lafi, whose season has ended, which leads the coach to rely on the player Badi Awok, along with the Congolese striker Guy Mbenza and perhaps his compatriot Jovel Tsumu. The team will also restore the services of Jalal Daoudi to strengthen the midfield along with Ayman Al-Hassouni and the team’s top scorer Yahya Gibran (5 goals).
The Portuguese coach of the Angolan team, Alexandre Santos, expressed his confidence in the possibility of returning to his strong host: “Wydad’s strength lies in the tactical balance, I have touched this in them a lot. They can defend strong and fast and have players who can score goals.” He continued, “Who knows, maybe we can make a remontada like Real Madrid (the Spanish in the Champions League) and the big teams. Football is one of the sports in which many things can happen in five minutes.”
African Champions League