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Wydad Beat Zamalek To Qualify For Quarters

Wydad Casablanca have become the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Total CAF Champions League after a 1-0 victory over Zamalek on Friday that took them to nine points comfortably sitting top of Group B.

With two rounds of group matches left, Wydad have a seven point buffer between them a third placed Zamalek, who are on a brink of elimination.

Yahya Jabrane scored the solitary goal for the Moroccan giants who maintained their 100pc group stage record with another important victory.

Angolan giants Petro du Luanda remain second in the group with seven points while their countrymen Sagrada Esperança are pegged bottom on one point. They face each other on Sunday, in what will be decisive fixtures for Zamalek.

Wydad Casabalanca intentions were clear from the onset after naming only three attackers on the line-up, after absorbing the pressure and only looking for chances on the break, frustrating Zamalek in the early stages.

However, the hosts came close to breaking the deadlock just before the half-hour mark after a cross Youssef Obama powered a header on target but goalkeeper  Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti made a great reflex save.

The game opened up after that as Ahmed Zizo had a glorious chance to put Zamalek ahead in the 25th minute after he was played through on goal by Mohamed Ashraf but his shot at the near post was saved by goalkeeper Tagnaouti with a trailing leg.

Wydad threatened on counter-attacks and kept the White Knights quiet in their defensive third but the hosts were resilient at the back and managed to head to the break without conceding.

The Moroccan settled the quickest in the second stanza as Yahya Jarbane broke the deadlock four minutes later  from the spot after Zamalek defender handled the ball in the area.

Zizo should have found an equalizer for Zamalek the lead in the 69th minute, the Egypt international played a neat one-two with Mohamed Ashraf before seeing his effort denied by the crossbar.

Mahmoud El-Wensh also squandered an opportunity to level matters minutes later, as he fired wide of the mark from six-yards out.

Jesualdo Ferreira’s side piled on the pressure in the closing stages of the game but could not bypass a stubborn Wydad defence.

 How they lined up:

Zamalek: Mohamed Abou-Gabal, Hamza Mathlouthi (Hazem Emam 72), Mahmoud Alaa, Mahmoud El-Wensh, Ahmed Fattouh, Mohamed Ashraf, Emam Ashour, Achraf Bencharki, Ahmed Zizo (Razak Cisse 72), Youssef ‘Obama’ Ibrahim (Mohamed Ounajem 46), Omar El-Said (Seifeddine Jaziri 56)

Wydad: Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti, Ayoub El Amloud, Achraf Dari, Amine Farhane, Yahia Attiyat Allah, Yahya Jabrane, Jalal Daoudi, Zouhair El Moutaraji (Muaid Ellafi 63), Aymane El Hassouni, Reda Jaadi, Guy Mbenza (Juvhel Tsoumou 63)

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