Last season’s losing finalists Wydad Club Athletic progressed to the semi finals for a second consecutive time after beating Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel 2-1 on aggregate despite losing the return tie 1-0 in Rades on Saturday.
Wydad had made the most of their start at home last weekend to win 2-0 and the result stood out for them away in Tunisia to earn them a date against Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the last four.
Karim Aribi scored the lone goal for the hosts, but the burly Algerian forward will remember most the chances he missed.
On a fast-paced start to the match, Wydad threatened first with Badi Aouk’s shot from the edge of the area going just over.
But from then on, it was the home side, powered by a massive home support at the Stade Olympique de Rades, that would create most chances, knowing they needed at least a two-goal performance to take them level on aggregate.
Mohamed Ben Amor was the next to line up a chance for the home side, releasing a belter of a shot from the edge of the area that went over. On the half hour mark, Aribi came close when he leapt high to meet a Wajdi Kechrida cross, but his angled header went over.
They had another clean chance six minutes to the break when off a cross, Aribi tapped down the ball for Mohamed Msakni. However, the forward couldn’t get a clean shot on goal, his effort going kindly into the keeper’s arms.
A lapse in concentration in defense almost cost Etoile a minute to the break when they struggled to clear a cross under no pressure. Ismail El Haddad picked the ball on the left before gliding to one side but his scorching shot was turned behind for a corner.
The second half was always going to be big for the home side as they needed to bag in goals as early as possible. They got the nerve calming goal 13 minutes after the change when Aribi reacted quickest to prod the ball home after Brahim Nakach failed to clear away a header from Saddem Ben Aziza off a corner.
With momentum on their side, the hosts piled more pressure, but were unfortunate not to score with Aribi forcing the keeper to a brilliant save with a diving header off a cross before he smashed the ball over minutes later having done well to cut into space.
For the missed chances, Etoile were almost punished, but they survived. El Haddad’s thunderous left boot strike struck the crossbar while Aouk’s header from the recycled ball went inches wide, unmarked at the back post.
With three minutes left, Wydad went defensive, Aouk coming out for defender Adil Rhaili to try and guard the slim aggregate lead.