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Al Ahly Champions League hopes revived with win at Wydad
The CAF Champions League Group A match was played at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on Wednesday. The only goal of the game was scored by Al Ahly centre-back Rami Rabia in the first minute of the second half, helping the Egyptian champions earn their first three points of the group stage.
The first half ended in a goalless draw despite mostly being controlled by Al Ahly. The most dangerous chance of the half was for Wydad however, when Ahly’s goalkeeper Ahmed Adel saved a sitter in the third minute of the game. Ahly’s response came from Momen Zakaria after he blocked a defender’s attempted clearance, but his ball just missed the goal.
The second half started perfectly for the Egyptian giants. Al Ahly defender Rami Rabia converted Walid Soliman’s free-kick into back of the net, putting Al Ahly into the lead for the first time since the start of the group stage. After the goal, Al Ahly continued to control the match but wasted two more chances – the first through Momen Zakaria before a superb shot by Walid Soliman forced goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi to save.
After Al Ahly’s other centre-back, Ahmed Hegazy, was injured and replaced by Saad Samir, the ball possession was transferred to Wydad and the Egyptians were forced to defend for the rest of the game. It is worth noting that all of Ahly’s substitutions were forced on Martin Jol, as Amr El-Sulaya was injured in the first half and replaced by Bassem Ali, and then Bassem Ali himself was injured and replaced by Mohamed Hany. Ahly’s defenders and goalkeeper were able to cruise the match to the final whistle and hold on to their first three points.
This win revives Al Ahly’s hopes of qualifying to the semi-finals after accumulating 4 points; 3 behind Wydad Casablanca and ZESCO United, who occupy the first and second places in the group. Al Ahly are set to play their next game of the group stage at home against ZESCO United.
In Group B, Zamalek were eliminated on the same night after losing 1-0 to South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns.