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CAF Champions League: Wydad puts in guard rivals and possible clash between Al-Ahly and Zamalek in the groups

Cairo: Nine Arab teams made it to the group stage of the African Champions League in football, as big surprises with adult qualification were absent in the knockout stage, in in particular the Moroccan Wydad, the champion in charge and runner-up Al-Ahly of Egypt, as well as their traditional rivals Raja and Zamalek as well as Esperance of Tunisia. The only surprise was the exclusion of the Congolese Democratic Republic of Mazembe, five times champion, by the Ugandan Vipers 2-4 on penalties, after having drawn back and forth with a negative result. Wydad Al-Umma have issued a stern warning to their rivals, after overwhelming their host, Rivers United, Nigeria, with a clear six, at Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca after losing the 1-2 first leg at Port Harcourt . The red team tries to keep the title for the second consecutive season and the fourth in its history, this time led by coach Hussein Amota, who has replaced Walid Rekraki, who has passed to the supervision of the Moroccan team. Amota took Wydad to the continental crown in 2017 and managed to remedy the situation after losing the first leg and was in able to lead the team to the group stage for the eighth consecutive time. He believed that the defeat in the first leg had its reasons, including the referee mistakes and the many mistakes of the players: “The result is right, after what happened in the first leg where we were deprived of the penalty kick and a wrong goal. was awarded against us, and we also managed to atone for the shortcomings. ”The Wydad benefited from the support of about forty thousand spectators to turn the tables on its Nigerian host, thanks to the genius of its players, in in particular the international winger Yahya Attia Allah and Ayoub Al-Amoud and the other national Yahya Gibran, and the Senegalese striker Polly Sambo, who replaced the Congolese Guy Mbenza. Amota has illustrious names capable of achieving his goal, such as Hamid Haddad, Zuhair Al-Matraji, the last champion of last season, and international goalkeeper Ahmed Reda Al-Taknaouti. Al-Ahly Clashes With Zamalek? Al-Ahly of Egypt, 10-time title holder (a record), had no difficulty in qualifying, beating the Tunisian Monastir 3-0 in the return after beating him in the first leg with a goal. The team introduces itself in a new form led by the Swiss Marcel Koller, who replaces the Portuguese Ricardo Suarez. It has kept most of its distinctive elements, adding the Brazilian striker Bruno Savio, coming from Bolivian Bolivar, in addition to the presence of the Malian Aliou Diang, the South African Percy Tao and the Tunisian Ali Maaloul. Al-Ahly will be alongside Wydad, Raja and Esperance in the first level of the draw which will take place next November, in waiting for the African Union (C) to determine the date, knowing that the group stage will start in February 2023. Raja Casablanca had no difficulty in reaching the group stage, after beating Nigelek of Niger 2-0 in the first leg to Niamey and 1-0 to Casablanca. The “Green Eagle” is led by Tunisian coach Munther El-Kebir, who said: “We will continue to work and develop our level. Today we have given opportunities to other players. We will now turn the page of the Champions League. in to focus on the championship. ”4-time title holder Esperance qualified hard after beating Nigeria’s Plateau United 1-0 thanks to a controversial penalty kick scored by Mohamed Ali Bin Ramadan, after the team lost 1 -2 in the first leg qualifying with a goal difference in away from home. It is possible that Al-Ahly will clash with his eternal rival, Zamalek, who will be at the second level in the ranking of the draw. Zamalek qualified easily after beating Burundi’s Flambo de Center 1-0 in the first leg and 5-1 in Cairo led by Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira and distinguished elements, led by team top scorer Ahmed Sayed “Zizou” and Beninese striker Simeon Aquinola, who recently joined the squad. The “White Castle” is looking for its sixth title in the continental competition, and the first since 2002. In the second level, in addition to Zamalek, the South African Mamelodi Sundowns, qualified at the expense of the Seychelles Labas (7-0, defender and 8 -1) and Petro Atlético de Angola, who defeated Cape Town, South Africa (3-0 first leg and 1-0 home), and Horeya Conakry of Guinea, who eliminated ASEC Mimosa of Cote d’Ivoire ( 1-0, 1-1). On the third level there are three representatives of the Arabs, in how much the Sudanese Crescent qualified at the expense of the Tanzanian Yang Africans (1-1 and 1-0), in addition to the representatives of Algeria, the young Belouizdad, who aspired to go beyond the semifinals after beating Djoliba from Mali (1 -2 and 2-0) and JS Kabylie defeated the Togolese Kara (2-1, 1-1). Simba of Tanzania also qualified at the expense of Premier de Augusto of Angola (3-1, 1-0). In the fourth level, the Sudanese qualified to Mars comes at the expense of the Libyan Al-Ahly Tripoli (2-0, first leg, 1-3 return), and the ranking also includes the Cameroonian Cotton Sport, winner of the Royal Leopards of Eswatini (1 -1 and 2-1), and the Ugandan Vipers, and the card remains The last one is between Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rael Kadiogo of Burkina Faso, drawing 0-0 in the first leg and see each other again in Kinshasa on 20 October. (AFP)


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