A second half hat-trick from Karim El Berkaoui ensured Hassania Agadir moved within touching distance of a place at the knockout stage after a 3-0 win over FC San Pedro of Cote d’Ivoire in a Group D Day Four clash on Sunday in Agadir.
El Berkaoui scored three goals within a spate of eight minutes as Hassania maintained their unbeaten run move to the brink of a quarters berth.
The Moroccans have ten points from four matches and sit comfortably at the summit of Group D with four points separating them and second place Enyimba. Algerian debutants Paradou have four points with San Pedro in that order on two points.
Hassania had the best chances in the opening half coming close to breaking the deadlock twice. San Pedro goalie Ira Eliezer came to his side’s rescue on 15 minutes before Youssef Alfahli missed from close range eight minutes later.
On the other hand, the Ivorians enjoyed some moments of dominance but rarely threatened the homers backline, as the game headed for recess barren.
Upon resumption, Hassanian showed promise and the pep talks from coach Mohamed Fakhir soon began to pay dividends.
Five minutes after break, El Berkaoui opened the scores from a well-rehearsed free-kick. With the San Pedro human wall expecting a cross from the free-kick at the edge of the penalty area, Elmehdi Oubilla evaded everyone with a pass to the well-position El Berkaoui, who fired a low shot past Eliezer.
On 53 minutes, El Berkaoui doubled the lead capitalizing on a blunder by Eliezer who failed to make a firm grab of a cross from Saad El Mosrli, before completing his hat-trick five minutes later finishing off an Alfahli assist and take the game beyond the West Africans, leaving them out of contention.
It was El Berkaoui’s fourth goal at the group stage, the most by an Hassania player this term.
The Moroccans can wrap up qualification with at least a point against Nigeria’s Enyimba away in Aba in the penultimate match in fortnight, before rounding up against newcomers Paradou next month.