Bencharki brace sends ten-man Wydad into final

Bencharki brace sends ten-man Wydad into final
22 October 2017 09:49

A second half brace from Achraf Bencharki and the other from Walid Karti was enough for Wydad Athletic Club to reach the final of a major continental championship for the first time since 2011.

The 3-1 win over USM Alger of Algeria on Saturday night at a packed Mohammed V Complex Stadium in Casablanca ensured Wydad booked their place at the decisive stage courtesy the same result on aggregate.

Midfielder Karti headed the hosts into the lead midway into the opening half before Bencharki found the back of the net twice to wrap up victory with Ayoub Abdellaoui scoring the consolatory strike for the visitors in between.

It was a deserving win for the 1992 winners, who improved on their semi-final placing last year, with a spot at the grand finale this term. However, it was no walkover having to play the final 35 minutes with a man less after defender Amine Atouchi was sent off.

Wydad, which lost 1-0 on aggregate to Tunisia’s Esperance in the final of the 2011 edition, have yet another opportunity to lay their hands on the Holy Grail of continental club football, with either Egyptian giants, Al Ahly or Etoile du Sahel as possible opponent for the two-legged final.

After a promising start, the Moroccans took the lead on 26 minutes through Karti, who soared above all to head home a Mohamed Ounnajem free-kick past USMA goalie Mohamed Zemmamouche.

Wydad extended the lead nine minutes after the break courtesy Bencharki with Ounnajem again the architect.

However, the joy of the host was cut short a minute later when Atouchi was given the marching off orders.

USMA made the most of their numerical advantage by pulling one back through Abdellaoui from a goalmouth action on 68 minutes to give hope to their chances.

As the clock ticked on, the visitors’ expectation for the equalizer fizzled out when Bencharki put the icing on the cake with the third goal on the stroke of full time.

Wydad await the winner of Sunday’s other semi-final between Ahly and Etoile in the final.

Fixtures and Results

Media

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