Morocco to meet Egypt in African Champions League semis


Wydad’s Hamza Asrir and Abdellatif Noussir block Etoile’s Karim Aribi in Rades

The prospect of an all-Casablanca Champions League final is still on after Wydad knocked out Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel late on Saturday.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg, the Moroccans made it through as 2-1 aggregate winners despite losing 1-0 to Etoile du Sahel in Rades.

No two teams from the same country have ever met in the final of African club football’s showpiece event before – and the prospect is not only alive for Morocco, but Egypt too.

Wydad, who finished as runners-up last year, will meet eight-time winners Al Ahly in the semi-finals.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 4

  • Wydad Casablanca (MOR) v Al Ahly (EGY)
  • Raja Casablanca (MOR) v Zamalek (EGY)
  • Ties to be played 1-3 & 8-10 May

Meanwhile, Wydad’s city rivals Raja will face another Egyptian side, Zamalek, in the last four.

The Casablanca derby aside, there is also the mouth-watering prospect of the competition’s two most successful sides meeting in the final.

Al Ahly have been crowned African champions on eight occasions while Zamalek have won five titles but the pair have never met in the final of the continent’s biggest club prize.

Zamalek knocked out defending champions Esperance on Friday and when Ahly defeated South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns a day later, the Cairo giants were both through to the Champions League semis for the first time since 2005.

Wydad were the last of the four semi-finalists to progress, after Raja had made it through earlier on Saturday, and did so despite losing to Karim Aribi’s goal just before the hourmark.

The Algerian forward scrambled home following a corner but he will rue the two chances he missed afterwards – with one bullet header directing itself straight at relieved Wydad goalkeeper Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti.

Wydad went close late on as Ismail El Haddad thumped a strike against the crossbar before missing other openings in a nervy end-to-end finale where both sides had fine opportunities to score.

Although no two teams from the same country have ever met in the final of either the African Champions League or its predecessor (the African Champions Cup), the final of Africa’s second-tier club competition – the Confederation Cup – has witnessed this before.

In 2008, Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien beat compatriots Etoile du Sahel while four years earlier, Asante Kotoko won an all-Ghanaian clash against bitter rivals Hearts of Oak.

This year’s semi-finals are scheduled to take place in the first two weeks of May, with the final set to be played in a neutral venue on 29 May.

Raja in the dock

On Sunday, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) said it is investigating a confrontation that took place between Raja players and TP Mazembe fans near the tunnel before kick-off.

After watching the incident, Caf’s Disciplinary Board suspended Raja defender “Iliass Haddad