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2nd legs

USM Alger vs Wydad Casablanca 0:0
Al Ahly vs Etoile -:-

Walid El KartiEmbed from Getty Images

Morocco's Wydad Casablanca booked their place in this season's African Champions League final with a 3:1 victory over Algeria's USM Alger on Saturday in the second leg of their semi-final.

Achraf Bencharki's brace sealed the win after Walid El Karti had put the hosts ahead.

With the tie level at 0:0 after the first leg in Algiers, Wydad knew they needed to maintain their impressive home record in this year's tournament to overcome their Algerian opponents.

The 1992 champions went into Saturday night's second leg having won all five of their matches in Morocco this season without conceding a goal.

Wydad opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Bencharki passed to El Karti who volleyed the ball home to give the hosts a 1:0 lead.

After the break, the impressive Bencharki turned goal-scorer to make it 2:0 to Wydad with his 54th-minute strike.

But the hosts were reduced to 10-men just a minute later after defender Amine Atouchi was sent off for two yellow cards.

It made for a tense finish to the game with USM Alger sensing a way back.

The visitors made their pressure pay in the 68th minute when Ayoub Abdellaoui struck to make it 2:1 to Wydad who were having to hang on against their desperate opponents.

The Moroccans made sure of the victory through Bencharki who hit his second of the game in the 90th minute to give the hosts a 3:1 victory and earn a place in the two-legged final which begins on Friday 27 October.

In the second semi-final second leg on Sunday, Egypt's Al Ahly will aim to maintain their record of never having gone more than three years this century without reaching the Champions League final when they host Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel.

Ahly - who trail 2:1 from the first leg - last reached the decider in 2013, when defeating South Africa's Orlando Pirates to win a record eighth title.

Etoile, meanwhile, are looking to be crowned African champions for only the second time in their history.

Their sole previous success came against Al Ahly themselves in 2007.

The Tunisians may have won their home leg but Al Ahly coach Hossam El Badry believes the away goal scored by Saleh Gomaa could prove crucial.

"The goal in Tunisia will make our mission a little easier," said El Badry, who guided the 'Red Devils' to Champions League glory in 2012. "We wasted several chances during the first leg but the home match will be different."

Ahly have been buoyed by Egyptian authorities agreeing to allow 40,000 spectators to attend the game in a country where most matches have recently been staged behind closed doors for security reasons.

However, they will be without veteran Egypt international Ahmed Fathy for the match because of suspension.

Etoile coach Hubert Velud, meanwhile, is chasing a second straight African club title after winning the second-tier Confederation Cup with DR Congo side TP Mazembe last year.


21 Oct 2017
(BBC Sport UK)

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