26 October 2017 07:18
When Egyptian giants Al Ahly march onto the field in Alexandria on Saturday to face Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco in the Total CAF Champions League 2017 final first leg, they will have on their books a face that their opponents know too well about.
Moroccan striker Oualid Azaro joined the Cairo-based giants last summer from domestic side, Difaa Al Jadida. The 22-year old striker, a promising talent as speculated by the local press in Morocco, he caught the eyes of Ahly officials, who managed to recruit the youngster for a reported staggering 1.3 million Euros.
But Azaro’s start with Ahly wasn’t promising in the eyes of the red army supporters. Failing to find the net but once in his first five games with the team, and guilty of spurning clear goal scoring chances put a lot of pressure on the lad's shoulders.
However, Azaro made amends for all his misses, scoring a crucial hat-trick to inspire Ahly to an infamous 6-2 win over Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel to cruise to the final 7-4 on aggregate.
Ait Melloul-born forward, Azaro, knows much about Wydad, having played against them twice last season in the Moroccan League "Botola Pro". He assisted one goal, helping his former side Difaa Al Jadida to two draws against then holders Wydad.
With Azaro, Ahly supporters feel optimistic about a similar story. Tunisian left back Ali Maaloul scored twice and assisted as well against his native clubs to guide Ahly to the final.
Maaloul scored the equalizer and provided the assist for Nigerian Junior Ajayi to help the ‘Red Devils’ defeat Esperance at Rades in the quarter final second leg. The Carthage Eagles defender scored against another Tunisian club, when he opened the scoring versus Etoile, before assisting Azaro with Ahly's third goal of the night.
Having scored 12 goals plus eight assists in 24 domestic games against Moroccan clubs before crossing carpet to Ahly, the Red Devils fans will be waiting for another breathtaking performance from Azaro, in the quest to add a ninth golden star on their famous red jersey.
A stake is a cash reward of 2,500,000 US Dollars for the winner and the ticket to represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup in December in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.