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Al Ahly Beat Wydad In First Leg Of African Champions League Semifinal

Al Ahly won the first leg of their African Champions League semifinal against Wydad Casablanca 2-0 in Morocco on Saturday.

Al Ahly won the first leg of their African Champions League semifinal against Wydad Casablanca 2-0 in Morocco on Saturday.

An early goal from Magdi Afsha and a second-half penalty from Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul gave the Egyptian side the crucial win in a match played at Mohamed V Complex.

Raja Casablanca host Zamalek in the other semi-final on Sunday evening.

Depleted by injuries, Wydad gifted the visitors with too much space to string together slick passes early on, and Mohammed Magdi opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute with a great finish after pouncing on a defensive error.

Al Ahly continued to pile the pressure and they nearly doubled their lead in 15th minute, as Junior Ajayi’s shot was cleared by Yahya Jabrane from the box.

It was all Ahly in the first half and Hussein El Shahat came close to getting his name on the score-sheet in the 28th minute, but Ahmed Tagnaouti was on hand to keep out the midfielder’s curling effort.

Wydad were on the back foot for most of the opening half, but nearly reduced the deficit six minutes before the halftime break, when they were then awarded a penalty after a VAR review only for Badie Aouk to send a tame spot-kick down the middle and straight into the hands of keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi.

The hosts should have reduced the deficit a minute after the halftime break when Gbagbo Junior was left one-on-one with El-Shennawi, but the striker placed his effort wide of the upright.

Al Ahly extended their lead in the 62nd minute after Wydad defender blocked a shot from Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi with his arm, with Ali Maaloul tucking away the resulting penalty.

Wydad certainly started the better of the two sides and went close in the 70th minute when Brahim Nakach’s stinging effort from distance sailed inches wide of the upright.

Abdellatif Noussir was presented with a chance in the 80th minute after being teed up by Yahia Attiyat-Allah but the midfielder blazed his effort over the bar from the edge of the area.

El-Shennawi came to Al Ahly’ rescue in the closing stages, as he pulled off a fine low save to keep out El Haddad Myeni’s shot from 12-yards.

Al Ahly held on to claim the win which gives them a big advantage heading into the second-leg next Friday in Cairo.

How they lined-up:

Wydad: Reda Tagnaouti – Abdellatif Nousseir, Yahia Attiyat Allah, Brahim Najm Eddine – Yahya Jabrane, Walid El Karti, Aymane El Hassouni, Brahim El Nakach – Badi Aouk, Ismail El Haddad, Gbagbo Magbi

Ahly: Mohamed El-Shennawi – Mohamed Hani, Yasser Ibrahim, Ayman Ashraf, Ali Maaloul – Aliou Dieng, Amr El-Sulaya, Mohamed “Afsha” Magdi – Hussein El Shahat, Junior Ajayi, Marwan Mohsen.

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