Al Ahly with a mountain to climb in CAF CL final

Al Ahly with a mountain to climb in CAF CL final
Al Ahly's player Emad Meteb (L) in action against Wydad Casablanca's player Abdelatif Noussir (R) during the African Champions League

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Nov 04, 2017. 18:44

Al Ahly have a mountain to climb heading into the second leg of the CAF Champions League final against hosts Wydad Casablanca on Saturday night.

The Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca will be the venue for the match, with kick-off set for 22h00 CAT. You will be able to follow LIVE Play-By-Play coverage of the match right here on AfricanFootball.

The first leg in Alexandria last weekend ended 1-1, with Ahly’s early goal from Moamen Zakaria cancelled out within the opening 20 minutes by Wydad’s Achraf Bencharki.

The aggregate score of 1-1 very much favours the Moroccan side, who have home advantage for the decisive leg and need only keep a clean sheet to ensure they pick up their second Champions League title.

The Egyptian giants, meanwhile, must at least match Wydad’s away goal if they are to have a shot at winning a record-extending ninth African crown.

Wydad coach Hussein Amotta will be without the services of injured winger Mohamed Ounajem, but was delighted with the first-leg result and believes his side is capable of triumphing on home soil.

“We achieved a milestone leaving Alexandria with a draw under these circumstances,” said Amotta after the match at the Borg El Arab Stadium.

“With all these fans, and against one of Africa’s finest most experienced clubs, a draw was a great result.”

He added, “It [the return leg] won’t be an easy game, but we will be more relaxed and we will have to work on scoring first this Saturday.

“Al Ahly have one of the best front lines in Africa, so it would be illogical to sit back and defend against them.

“Now that we know the flaws in Al Ahly’s defence, we will put pressure on them from the start. Yet at the same time we need to leave them no space for counter-attacks at the back.

“It is a great pleasure for me to coach Wydad and lead them up to this stage, but I cannot wait till Saturday when I become the happiest man in Morocco and all of Africa.”

Al Ahly have their own injury absentee in the shape of captain Hossam Ashour, and coach Hossam El Badry is under pressure to turn the tie around in Casablanca.

“I knew it [the first leg] was going to be a tough match, and we didn’t exploit the chances that we had during the game. We weren’t lucky [in the match] too,” the Al Ahly coach explained.

He added, “However, we put in an overall strong performance and I believe in the players’ abilities. We’ll fight to achieve victory in the second leg to claim the title.”

Gambian referee Bakary Gassama will take charge of the match in Casablanca on Saturday night. The winners will qualify for both the 2017 Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in December, and the 2018 CAF Super Cup against the winners of the Confederation Cup final (either SuperSport United or TP Mazembe).

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