Caf Champions League wrap: Advantage Wydad Casablanca after professional showing against Etoile du Sahel

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Wydad Casablanca v Mamelodi Sundowns, April 2019
Last year’s runners-up took their chances while the Tunisians paid the price for their profligate finishing in Morocco

Wydad Casablanca defeated Etoile du Sahel 2-0 in the first-leg of their Caf Champions League quarter-final encounter at Stade Mohamed V on Saturday night.

The 2019 runners-up had a Mohammed Nahiri brace to thank for their victory on home turf, which puts them in a decent position heading into the reverse fixture in Tunisia.

Wydad were under pressure in the first-half from their visitors but held firm despite facing six shots on their goal, double the amount they could muster.

However, Nahiri netted the opener for the hosts in the 11th-minute against the run of play after good work from Ismail El Haddad, and it stayed that way till the break.

After the interval, the Reds raised their game by preventing the visitors from shooting at their goal and seized the initiative offensively too, so Nahiri’s second goal of the night wasn’t surprising.

The right-back netted nine minutes after the interval to double the hosts’ lead and put them in an advantageous position after the first meeting between the sides.

In the day’s earlier encounter, Egyptian champions Al Ahly completely dominated Mamelodi Sundowns at the Al Ahly Stadium, and were full value for their 2-0 win in Cairo.

Their goals didn’t come until the second-half, but it was no less than they deserved after forcing the Brazilians to play a defensive game throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Pitso Mosimane’s troops could only muster three attempts in the first-half while the Club of the Century had a staggering 11.

After half-time, Rene Weiler’s team took their football up a notch, and deservedly went in front four minutes before the hour after Junior Ajayi set up left-back Ali Maaloul to put the Egyptian side ahead.

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The defender then doubled the Red Devils’ advantage with a penalty in the 68th-minute, which was no less the home side deserved after thoroughly outplaying the South African outfit.

Al Ahly had 25 attempts to the visitors’ four, and dominated possession too, 62-38, and could and should’ve won by more if they finished more clinically.

The reverse fixtures of the quarter-final games will be held on Saturday March 7 in Tunisia and South Africa, respectively.