Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wydad Casablanca 1 Al Ahly 0 (2-1 agg): El Karti clinches Champions League crown

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Nov 2017

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Wydad Casablanca claimed their second CAF Champions League title with a 1-0 win at home to Al Ahly securing a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

The Moroccan side pegged back Al Ahly – the competition’s most successful club – in the first leg, drawing 1-1 at the Borg El Arab Stadium, and Walid El Karti completed the turnaround in front of a raucous home crowd.

El Karti’s second-half header was enough to settle the tie in Wydad’s favour after both sides missed big chances before the interval.

The visitors, chasing a ninth crown, pushed hard for a late equaliser but fell short and could only watch on as Wydad celebrated their first title in 25 years on the pitch at full-time.

Amid the considerable din of Stade Mohammed V, Al Ahly controlled the early stages and Walid Azarou passed up a golden opportunity to open the scoring as he shot straight at goalkeeper Zouhair Laaroubi from close range.

Abdeladim Khadrouf then came close for the home side with a deflected strike that bounced to safety off the crossbar as Sherif Ekramy stood rooted to his line and the game burst into life.

Laaroubi brilliantly denied Al Ahly’s Moamen Zakaria at the end of a swift counter-attack, before Ekramy misjudged Ismail El Haddad’s cross-cum-shot and watched on with relief as it trickled wide as Wydad attacked once more.

But the two teams headed into the break still goalless, a scoreline that would already see the hosts clinch the trophy.

El Haddad blasted wide immediately following the restart but, after a stoppage to allow flare-induced smoke to clear the pitch, the contest slowed until El Karti made his mark with 21 minutes remaining.

Achraf Bencharki – who scored Wydad’s goal in Egypt – provided the cross from the right for the 23-year-old midfielder to nip in ahead of a clutch of defenders and nod into the net.

Ekramy somehow denied El Haddad the second from another Bencharki centre, but the Moroccan side held on with the backing of their determined home support to take the trophy.

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