Friday Jun 25, 2021. 08:52
Wydad Casablanca will chase a turnaround in their CAF Champions League semifinal tie when they face hosts Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on the evening of Saturday 26 June, kick-off at 18:00 CAT.
The Moroccans put in a dominant display in the first leg at Stade Mohamed V last weekend, but chance after chance was either spurned by WAC’s attackers – or brilliantly denied by Chiefs goalkeeper and man of the match Bruce Bvuma – meaning Samir Nurkovic’s first-half, VAR-ratified goal proved the difference between the teams.
WAC’s determination to reach a third CAFCL final in the space of five seasons was evidenced in coach Faouzi Benzarti’s decision to field a second-string team in their midweek domestic league clash against RS Berkane – this paid off with a 2-0 away win, leaving their first-choice players fresh for the trip to South Africa.
“We lost with one goal, we still have another match to play in South Africa, the VAR wasn’t used in favour of Wydad like during the previous matches,” Benzarti said ahead of this weekend’s clash.
“We’ll try to overturn this result in South Africa, I can’t fault the players, they gave one hundred percent. They were present mentally and physically but this is football. We accept the result and we look forward to doing better in the next match.”
Chiefs, meanwhile, need only avoid defeat to claim a place in the Champions League final for the first time in their history. Their African campaign in 2020-21 has been in stark contrast to their awful domestic performances, but the Amakhosi will not care one little bit if they can miraculously claim the top prize in continental club football.
No club has lost a knockout tie in the latter stages of the CAFCL after winning the first leg away from home since way back in 1995, and Chiefs are determined not to become the first.
“We have another 90 minutes, it will be difficult. We were very disciplined and we hope to keep a clean sheet at home as well,” said caretaker coach Arthur Zwane.
“Everyone gave 100 percent, I’m happy with the result and with the clean sheet. We know it’s not over, it’s only halfway. We just have to keep going and working hard,” added Bvuma.
The aggregate winners will advance to face either Egyptian side Al Ahly or Tunisia’s Esperance in the final on July 17. Ahly hold a 1-0 lead ahead of hosting the second leg of their semifinal tie in Cairo later on Saturday evening.