AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s CAF Champions League action

AfricanFootball previews the weekend’s CAF Champions League action
Fabrice Nguessi Ondama (R) of Wydad Casablanca vies for the ball with Maroof Yusuf (L) of Zamalek during the African Champions League (CAF) semi-final leg soccer match between Zamalek and Wydad Casablanca at Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco, 24 September 2016. EPA/ABDELHAK SENNA

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 29, 2017. 10:00

AfricanFootball looks ahead to a weekend which will see the 2017 CAF Champions League open its penultimate round with two first-leg, semifinal clashes - both of which are North African derbies.

The action gets underway on Friday night with the meeting of USM Alger and Wydad Casablanca at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers.

The Algerian hosts are the only club out of the remaining four which has never won the Champions League (they were runners-up to TP Mazembe in 2015) and they will be itching for the chance to lay their hands on the trophy for the first time.

However, they face a tough opponent in Wydad. The Moroccans claimed the scalp of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the previous round, ousting the South Africans 3-2 on penalties after the two teams were tied 1-1 on aggregate.

Expect a tactical chess-match between two teams which have been strong defensively throughout the competition.

On Sunday, at the Olympic Stadium in Sousse, Etoile du Sahel and Al Ahly will renew a rivalry which has burned fiercely in this competition since the turn of the century.

The teams have met twice in the Champions League final: in 2005 the Egyptians triumphed 3-0 on aggregate, but two years later it was the Tunisian side’s turn to taste glory when they won 3-1 over the two legs.

Al Ahly have already overcome one Tunisian team, defeating Esperance de Tunis 4-3 on aggregate in the quarterfinals, while Etoile will hope for an Al Ahly ‘double’: they beat Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli in the previous round and will now hope to repeat the feat against the famous Egyptian giants.

The second-leg matches for both semifinals will be played on the weekend of 20-22 October.

CAF Champions League fixtures
All times CAT - semifinal, first legs

Friday 29 September
USM Alger v Wydad Casablanca - 19h00

Sunday 1 October
Etoile du Sahel v Al Ahly - 19h30




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