Berkane defeats Al Masry to complete semis quartet

Last season’s losing finalists RS Berkane of Morocco completed the semifinals pack, beating Egyptian visitors Al Masry 1-0 at Berkane Municipal Stadium on Sunday night to reach the final four with an aggregate 3-2 win.

Berkane who lost the title on penalties last season returned from Suez with an away 2-2 draw last Sunday, and needed a first half goal from Najji Larbi to complete their job at home.

The game was played behind closed doors as per requested by Moroccan health authorities.

Berkane will now face compatriots Hassania Agadir next May for a place in the final, with a maiden CAF Confederation Cup title at stake.

Visitors Al Masry had the first sight on goal after seven minutes. From a free kick the ball reached Moftah Taktak whose shot went wide with goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi relieved.

Mohssine Iajour who scored a brace in the first leg was behind the hosts’ first chance ten minutes later. Following a corner kick he received the ball inside the penalty area, but his shot was deflected to another corner that the defense cleared easily.

Iajour once again came near to break the deadlock but he narrowly missed Alain Traore’s cross.

Berkane broke the deadlock five minutes before the break. Traore’s corner kick found Najji Larbi whose header sailed past Ahmed Abdelfatah between Al Masry’s posts to give the hosts a lead they looked for.

Mahmoud Wadi should have equalized for Al Masry on the brink of halftime but he misjudged Ahmed Yasser’s cross to see his header going wide, as both sides went to the break with the hosts leading 1-0.

Al Masry piled more pressure after the break knowing they now need to score twice to remain in contention. But all their crosses found the safe hands of Laaroubi.

Traore tried to double the hosts’ lead six minutes after the hour mark but his shot was timely stopped by Abdelfatah.

Saidou Simpore had the game’s last chance when his 94th minute shot kissed the post, as Berkane cruised to the semifinals for the second consecutive season.

Source: Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF)

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