Al Ahly completes the double over Wydad to reach the final

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Al Ahly’s dream of a ninth Total CAF Champions League title and their first since 2013 remained well on course after thrashing Morocco’s Wydad Club Athletic 3-1 at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday to storm into the final.

A first half pair from Marwan Mohsen and Hussein Elshahat complimented by a second half header from Yasser Ahmed Ibrahim secured victory for Pitso Mosimane’s charges. Substitute Zouheir El Moutaraji scored Wydad’s consolation.

The healthy score-line at home earned them a 5-1 aggregate victory, having won 2-0 in the first leg played in Casablanca last weekend.

The Egyptian giants stretched their unbeaten home record in the Champions League to 28, and had their 17th consecutive home win, the longest streak in the competition’s history.

It was a jolly good day for Mosimane who earlier on Thursday had been named the best coach in the South African PSL having guided Mamelodi Sundowns to the title before moving to Ahly.

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Friday also marked four years since he guided The Brazilians to the Champions League trophy, and he now has eyes cast on his second as a coach, this time with the Cairo giants.

By halftime, Ahly already had the job done with goals from Mohsen and Elshahat giving them a 2-0 cushion on the night and 4-0 on aggregate at the break.

With a two-goal mountain to climb, Wydad had come into the game determined to score early and push for an equalizer. Just 22 seconds into the game they had a golden chance when Kasengu Kazadi picked up a poorly placed pass from Ahly before shooting low, but his effort went wide.

In an end to end start to the game, it was the hosts, unbeaten on home soil this season, who would get the lead courtesy of a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) awarded goal after seven minutes.

Mohsen broke the offside trap to pick out a ball looped behind the defense before shooting low past the keeper. The first assistant referee had initially raised his flag for offside, but after consultations with the VAR officials, referee Victor Gomes gave the goal.

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Ahly were pumped after the goal and came close three minutes later but Wydad keeper Ahmed Reda made a great full stretched save to deny Junior Ajayi.

The Nigerian had come off the end of a well worked move that opened up the Wydad backline with the ball sprayed out to the left.

Despite going three down on aggregate, Wydad still kept the chase to try cut the deficit. They had a chance in the 25th minute off a freekick but Ismail El Hadad’s effort went just over the bar.

The home side were in no mood to let down and they soon doubled their tally, Elshahat taking Wydad defender Yahya Attiat to the cleaners with two identical dummy shots before calmly finishing past the keeper.

They could have gone to the break 3-0 up, but Wydad keeper Reda ensured his team didn’t have a bigger deficit when he went low on his left to keep out a shot from Mohamed Magdy’s freekick.

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In the second half, Wydad were still fighting and 10 minutes in, Kazadi had another opportunity but his header off a Badi Aouk cross went over.

But once again, the little hope of completing a comeback was nipped in the bud in the 58th minute when Ibrahim towered over the defence to power a header home off a well delivered El Shahat corner.

With a 3-0 lead on the night and 5-0 on aggregate, Ahly boss Pitso Mosimane had the prestige of resting his most trusted pair of hands Mohamed Elshenawy and handed Ali Mostafa Lotfy some minutes for his third game of the competition.

Mahmoud Kahraba who missed the first leg due to injury was also given some minutes in the tank, coming in for goal scorer Mohsen. He almost scored barely three minutes after coming on, but his shot went just wide.

With the tie seemingly put of reach, Wydad had now to play for pride. They got one back with eight minutes left, El Moutaraji struck a belter into the far right after Ahly’s Ahmed Mohamed Sayed lost the ball cheaply.