Friday May 06, 2022. 11:00
Petro de Luanda of Angola and Algeria’s ES Setif will look to continue their trend of claiming upset results in the CAF Champions League when the semifinal, first-leg matches are played on Saturday 7 May.
The final four may feature Egypt’s Al Ahly (10-time champions and chasing a third successive African crown) and Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca (two-time champions and a team which has appeared in the semifinals in six of the last seven editions of the CAFCL), but their respective opponents, Setif and Petro, are hungry to break that domination and have already claimed major scalps along the way.
Petro, who will host Wydad at Estadio 11 de Novembro on Saturday afternoon, took out Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinals and also helped to bring about an early exit for Zamalek.
Os Tricolores and the Red Castle have already clashed twice earlier in the tournament (in Group D), with the Angolans winning 2-1 on home soil in February, only for the return game in Casablanca in early April to bring a crushing 5-1 triumph for the hosts.
Reaching this far into the premier continental tournament is already a major success for Petro, but coach Alexandre Santos has revealed they are not yet satisfied.
“The players don’t want to stop dreaming and I can’t help but follow them,” said the Portuguese.
In reference to facing Wydad, he added: “It is a game that will be very difficult, and it needs all the effort and concentration.”
Saturday night’s clash sees Al Ahly welcome ES Setif to the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo. The Egyptian heavyweights have had trouble against defensive-minded teams in recent weeks and the Black Eagles from Algeria put up a ‘shutout’ masterclass in upsetting Tunisia’s Esperance de Tunis in the previous round, holding the Blood and Gold goalless for a full 180 minutes to take the tie 1-0 on aggregate.
Setif will hope that their resilience once again lays the foundation for an upset, according to coach Darko Novic.
“We studied our opponent well beforehand and opted for a defence in the zone with tight lines in order to reduce the spaces,” said the Serbian tactician. He added: “We will now try to continue the rest of the course with the same determination and the same spirit.”
Referees Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria) Bamlak Tessema Weyesa (Ethiopia) will take charge of the matches in Luanda and Cairo respectively.
The return legs will be held on Friday 13 May (Wydad v Petro) and Saturday 14 May (Setif v Ahly), with the aggregate winners advancing to the final on 29 May.
CAF Champions League weekend fixtures
Saturday 7 May
15:00: Petro de Luanda v Wydad Casablanca
21:00: Al Ahly v ES Setif