Match Preview: Wydad Athletic vs Al Ahly CAF Champions League semifinals first leg

African Inter Club football returns after almost 8 months of sideline from coronavirus pandemic. After reaching last four of the continental club top flight football, all semifinal games were suspended in African’s bid to curb the spread of the global deadly virus.

In awake of  Africa’s premier Inter-Club football resumption, North Africans make the dominance in both the Champions League and Confederations Cup as all semifinals of the two competitions start this weekend 17th-20th of October.

Raja Club Athletic of Morocco face Zamalek in all North Africans affairs in 2019-2020 CAF Champions League semifinals with first leg of the tie staging at Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca.

Raja are current champions of the Moroccan Premier League after finishing the season with 60 points. Zamalek are also in reign of affairs to make cut in next season’s African Club top flight football after opening 4 points above third placed Pyramids-who have opened a strong competition to qualify for Champions League since restart of the Egyptian Premier League from coronavirus suspension.

Before Raja-Zamalek clash, Wydad Athletic welcome Al Ahly to the Mohamed V Stadium in Saturday evening. The Reds have already been crowned champions of the Egyptian Premier League before bringing in Pitso Mosimane from Mamelodi Sundowns to bolster their African ambitions.

Unlike Ahly who run away with their 42nd league title in the history of the Egyptian Premier League, Wydad has been leapfrogged to the Botola league title this season.

Despite Juan Garrido’s side demonstrating a resilient chase of the Moroccan Premier League title this term, coming from a goal down to beat FUS Rabat 2-1 last Sunday, Raja fought back to beat FAR Rabat at home to lift first league title in 6 years (12th overall Botola title).

Both Wydad and Al Ahly have enjoyed successful campaign in the Caf Champions League to reach semifinals albeit placing second each in their respective groups. The home side for this evening’s game crushed out Etoile Sportive du Sahel in the quarter-finals after emerging the better off 2-1 aggregate scoreline.

On the other hand, Al Ahly beat Sundowns 3-1 on aggregate having comfortably saw off the South African giants 2-0 in the first leg in Cairo.

While Ahly are boosted technically, after appointing Pitso Mosimane, they will be hoping to take a sweet revenge on Wydad from their defeat to the Moroccan side in 2017 CAF Champions League finals.

Thanks to Zakaria who put Ahly ahead on the 3rd minute but now-playing-at-Zamalek Achraf Bencharki leveled for Wydad to end the first leg 1-1 in  Borg Elarab stadium, Alexandria. The Moroccans won the second leg 1-0 to emerged 2-1 victors over the Egyptians in 2017 finals of the Champions League.

Team News- Al Ahly 

Al Ahly traveled to Morocco on Tuesday for the semifinals first leg game before they host Wydad on the 23rd in Cairo.

Al Ahly retrieved their star goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy for the encounter while Mahmoud Kahraba was also declared fit to fly to Morocco.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils will be without central defender Ramy Rabia who sustained a muscular injury. Ali Maaloul and Geraldo also joined their teamamtes in Morocco after finishing their national teams duty.

Goalkeepers: Mohamed El-Shennawy, Ali Lotfy, Mostafa Shobier

Defenders: Mahmoud Wahid, Ayman Ashraf, Yasser Ibrahim, Mohamed Hany, Ahmed Fathi, Ali Maaloul

Midfielders: Amr El-Sulaya, Aliou Dieng, Hamdy Fathi, Mohamed Magdy Afsha, Junior Ajayi, Saleh Gomaa, Hussein El-Shahat, Ahmed El-Sheikh, Walid Soliman, Mahmoud Kahraba, Geraldo

Strikers: Marwan Mohsen, Aliou Badji


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