Wydad Qualify For CAF Champions League Final Despite Home Draw
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By Vitus Michael
Morocco’s Wydad Athletic Club’s hunt for a third CAF Champions League title got a major boost on Friday after they reached the final despite a 1-1 draw at home against Angola’s Petro de Luanda in the return leg of their semi-final fixture.
The Moroccans progressed with a 4-2 aggregate score, having won the first leg in Luanda 3-1 last week. They are into the final for the first time since the 2018-19 season.
Petro broke the deadlock through Gleison, but Amine Farhane drew his side level to ensure they avoided defeat at home and earns a place in the final against either holders Al Ahly or ES Setif, with the two sides playing their second leg on Saturday.
The Angolans who were seeking their first ever qualification to the final came into the match needed a huge performance to overturn the first leg defeat and they were off to a fast start off the blocks.
They had the first threat at goal in the 17th minute when skipper and top scorer Tiago Azulao quickly turned from range, but his shot rose inches over the bar.
Three minutes later they however broke the deadlock with a brilliant goal from Gleison.
The forward picked the ball from the right before drifting into the edge of the box and striking a brilliant left footer that rolled into the bottom left of Wydad’s goal.
Wydad Athletic Club players celebrate reaching the final during the CAF Champions League 202122 Semifinal 2nd Leg match between Wydad Athletic Club and Petro Atletico held at the Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca,
The home side were woken from their slow start and pushed on by the capacity home crowd, drew level in the 28th minute when defender Farhane sneaked in to head a corner from Yahia Attiyat Allah.
The goal put off Petro’s calculations as they knew a second goal would have put them at an advantage. They however kept the fight and had a sniff at goal in the 37th minute when Azulao twisted and turned inside the box but his eventual shot was deflected wide.
In the second half, Petro came out all guns blazing with Azulao twice trying his luck from distance, but couldn’t get a second goal for his side.
In the 75th minute they came close when Yano went for another scorching long ranger, but the effort was wide. Anderson Cruz also had a chance with a shot from the left but it was saved by the keeper.
Wydad will have home advantage when they file out in the final on May 30 with probably against defending champions, Al Ahly of Egypt in Morocco.
Al Ahly, seeking their 3rd consecutive triumph after defeating Kaiser Chiefs of South Africa in last July’s final, hold a 4-0 advantage against ES Setif of Algeria ahead of Saturday’s return leg.