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CAF Champions League final preview: Wydad Casablanca vs Al Ahly

Posted: 4 November 2017 Time: 13:00

Mamelodi Sundowns will officially be dethroned as CAF Champions League champions today when Morocco’s Wydad Casanblanca host Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the second leg final today.

Wydad have the advantage after the first leg in Cairo last weekend finished 1-1, as Achraf Bencharki cancelled out Moemen Zakaria’s third minute opener.

The two sides met on two occasions in the group stages, both winning 2-0 on home soil. Both sides have knocked out PSL sides on their way to the final – Ahly beat Bidvest Wits in the qualifying rounds and Wydad knocked out Sundowns in the quarterfinals.

KickOff.com previews the North African final, which will be played tonight in Casablanca.

- WYDAD CASABLANCA

CAF history

Wydad last won the competition in 1992 and finished as runners-up in 2011. Founded in 1937, they won the CAF Cup Winners’ Cup in 2002.

They have appeared nine times in the Champions League in their history. They were knocked out in the semi-finals last year after putting up a good fight against Zamalek and they’ve gone a step further this time round. They will be hoping they can put the cherry on top of a good campaign by lifting the trophy on home soil tonight.

Road to the final

Wydad needed a penalty shootout to overcome FC Mounana in the first round after the score finished 1-1 over two-legs. The result booked them a spot in the round robin phase and they did well to finish on top of the standings in group D. They registered four victories and lost just twice, to Zanaco and Ahly. They beat Sundowns 3-2 on penalties in the quarterfinals and they registered a 3-1 aggregate victory over Algerian side USM Alger in the semis.

Their campaign in numbers

0 – They have not lost a game at home in the Champions League this year, so they will be confident going into their meeting against Ahly tonight.

0 – The Moroccan outfit did not concede a goal on home soil during the group stages.

2 – Wydad have won two penalty shootouts in this year’s competition. They beat Gabon’s CF Mounana 5-4 on penalties in the qualifying rounds and edged Sundowns 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

5 – Bencharki, who scored in the first leg final last weekend, is the side’s top scorer in the competition with five goals. 

Player to watch: Achraf Bencharki

- AL AHLY

CAF history

The most successful side in Champions League history will be looking to win their ninth title. They last won the competition in 2013, so they will be itching to get their hands on the trophy again. They have won one Confederation Cup trophy, six Super Cup titles and four Cup Winners’ Cup titles in their history.

Road to the final

Ahly beat Bidvest Wits 1-0 on aggregate in the first round to book themselves a spot in the group stages. They finished second in group D, a point behind winners Wydad, after registering three victories, over Coton Sport (twice) and Wydad. In the quarterfinals, they beat Tunisian giants Esperance 4-3 on aggregate. They hammered Etoile du Sahel 7-4 on aggregate in the semis.

Their campaign in numbers

2 – Ahly have only lost two matches away from home in this year's competition.

3 – Ahly’s striker Walid Azaro, who is from Morocco, is only player in the side with a hat-trick in his year’s competition. He scored his three goals in the 6-2 second leg semi final victory over Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel.

13 – The Red Devils have been lethal in the knockout phase of the competition, scoring 13 goals in five games since the quarterfinals.

Player to watch: Moemen Zakaria

NOTE: The CAF Cup Winners’ Cup merged with the CAF Cup to form the Confederation Cup.

Article by: Tshepang Mailwane
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