Wydad Athletic Club player Anas El Asbahi (L) and Mamelodi Sundowns Leandro Sirino (R) fight for the ball during the CAF Champions League soccer match between Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco and Mamelodi Sundowns of Guinea at Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca , Morocco,17 August 2018.
Friday Aug 17, 2018. 23:18
Wydad Casablanca overcame Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 in the 2018 CAF Champions League Group C match at the Stade Mohammed V in Morocco on Friday night.
As a result, Moroccan giants Wydad advanced to the knockout stages, while South Africa's Sundowns moved down to third place on the table.
Wydad of Resistance dominated the match from the start as they applied some pressure on the Brazilians defence.
However, Sundowns midfielder-cum-striker Anthony Laffor was presented with a half chance in the opening stages of the game.
The Liberian forward fired over the crossbar with a snap shot without troubling goalkeeper Yassine El Kharroubi in Wydad goal after being set-up by Gaston Sirino.
The hosts were struggling to penetrate the Sundowns defence and seriously test Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango despite dominating possession.
The shot-stopper was called into action by Ismail El Haddad, who tried his luck from range, but his attempt was easily saved by the keeper after the half-hour mark.
Sundowns grew in confidence as the game progressed and Themba Zwane unleashed a long-range shot which sailed over the crossbar with the half-time break approaching.
The Wydad backline which was marshalled by Ivorian defender Cheick Comara were able to contain Sundowns until Algerian referee Mehdi Abid Charef blew the half-time whistle.
Wydad and Sundowns were locked at 0-0 at the interval.
The hosts piled pressure on the Brazilians defence after restart and they nearly broke the deadlock five minutes into the second-half.
Mohamed Ounajem was sent through on goal, but the Wydad forward was bravely denied by Onyango from close range.
However, Wydad of Resistance's pressure finally paid off in the 56th minute and it was Anas Al Asbahi, who opened the scoring with a beautiful goal.
Walid El Karti set-up Asbahi, who scored with a wonderful long-range shot which beat Onyango hands down to make 1-0 to Wydad much to the delight of the home crowd.
Hlompho Kekana tried his luck from range on the hour-mark, but his attempt was easily saved by El Kharroubi, who was well-positioned to make a save.
The Sundowns captain was then treplaced by Jose Meza in the closing stages of the game as the visitors looked to snatch equaliser.
The Venezuelan forward nearly made an immediate impact, but his effort was comfortably saved by Kharroubi in the dying minutes of the encounter.
Wydad then stood firm at the back until Abid Charef blew the final whistle and they emerged 1-0 winners over Sundowns.
Wydad (0) 1 (Al Asbahi 56')
Wydad XI: El Kharroubi, El Asbahi, Saidi, Ounajem (Aarab 88'), Gadarine, El Hadded (Hassouni 78'), Babatunde (Thigazaoui 70'), El Karti, Noussir, Comara, Nahiri.
Sundowns XI: Onyango, Langerman, Nascimento, Ngcongca, Madisha, Jali, Kekana (Maboe 70'), Zwane, Vilakazi, Sirino (Meza 61'), Laffor (Mabunda 46')