Petro hoping to make their mark in first leg against Wydad

Petro hoping to make their mark in first leg against Wydad
Petro Atletico captain Tiago Azulao leads his team out during the CAF Champions League 2021/22 quarterfinal match between Petro de Luanda and Mamelodi Sundowns

by Staff Reporter

Friday May 06, 2022. 15:00

Petro de Luanda will be looking to make home advantage count when they welcome Wydad Casablanca to the 11 November Stadium on Saturday in the first leg of the CAF Champions League semi-finals.

Kick-off is at 3pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

The Tricolores are unbeaten in four matches on the continent this season as hosts, having recorded three wins and a draw in Luanda, with Mamelodi Sundowns their prized scalp.

Alexandre Santos’ side eliminated the Brazilians in the quarter-finals courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate scoreline, set up by their 2-1 victory in the first leg on home soil.

Masandawana failed to capitalise on their dominance in the second leg as Tiago Azulao cancelled out Brian Onyango’s opener to earn the Angolan outfit a 1-1 draw in Johannesburg to send one of the title favourites packing.

Azulao’s equaliser from the penalty spot at the FNB Stadium was his sixth goal in eight matches and the Brazilian is the leading scorer in the competition this term.

Santos revealed his players are determined to keep the dream alive as they strive to reach the final for the first time in the club’s history, although he acknowledges that Wydad will pose another stern test after their previous two encounters in the group stages.

“The players don’t want to stop dreaming and I can’t help but follow them,” the Portuguese tactician said. “It is a game that will be very difficult, and it needs all the effort and concentration.”

The Red Castle are aware of the challenges facing them in the Angolan capital after losing 2-1 to Petro on matchday 2, when Azulao registered his first goal of the campaign.

Walid Regragui guided his team past CR Belouizdad in the last eight to earn a re-match with the Tricolores. A 1-0 win in the first leg against the Great Chabab in Algiers did the job after the second leg in Casablanca finished goalless.

The Moroccan champions, who are seasoned campaigners in the Champions League after progressing to the semis for the fifth time in six years, will try to keep the tie alive in the first leg knowing that Petro have struggled on their travels and suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat at the Mohammed V Stadium on matchday 6.

The two teams have met six times before, with Wydad comfortably leading the head-to-head battles four wins to one. They shared the spoils on one occasion in a 2-2 draw in January 2020.

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