New coach Sebastien Desabre had a dream start in his second coming at Wydad Club Athletic, leading the Moroccan giants to a 3-1 victory over Algeria’s USM Alger At the Complexe Mohammed V in Cassablanca on Friday to confirm their place in the quarter finals of the Total CAF Champions League.
Goals from Walid El Karti, Badi Aouk and Kasengu Kazadi set Wydad going with Mohamed Meftah scoring USM’s consolation. The victory handed the former Uganda Cranes and Pyramids FC tactician a warm welcome as the two time Champions League winners headed to the knockout phases.
The victory took Wydad to nine points after five matches, one behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who face Petro de Luanda on Saturday. With one round of games to go, USM are on two points and cannot finish in the top two.
Effectively as well, Petro’s chances of qualification have been crushed by Wydad as the Angolans are also on two points and will be playing the final two games for pride.
Wydad though will now focus on finishing the group stage at the top of the standings when they face Sundowns in the final round of matches next weekend.
By the end of the first period, it was smiles for Wydad, but all over for the Algerians.
Three unanswered goals by the home side had left USM clutching on straws and it was a devastating blow especially after they had a good start to the game, pushing Wydad into their own half.
Wydad broke the deadlock in the seventh minute when El Karti slammed the ball home after running onto a brilliant flick on from Kazadi. Wydad had recovered from the early scare by the visitors and the gaol played a big role in calming their nerves.
USMA’s poor defending of set pieces saw them concede a second goal in the 23rd minute when Aouk slotted home after rounding keeper Mohamed Zemmamouche when the defense allowed another long freekick to bounce behind them.
Pushed on by the passionate fans whose sound levels were now hitting deafening decibels, Wydad kept the pressure. USMA had a chance to halve the deficit in the 34th minute but Abdelkrim Zouari sent a freekick straight to the wall off a good scoring range.
Abderrahim Hamra had an even better chance with a lone header at the edge of the six yard box but he sent it wide with the Wydad keeper Ahmed Reda left rooted to his spot.
For those two missed chances, Wydad paid the ultimate price when Congolese forward Kazadi continued with his rich goal scoring vein, slotting home with a diving header off an Aouk cross from the left.
USMA were better in the second half and had another open chance just three minutes in, but Redouane Cherifi could not angle his header on target after a freekick from Meftah found him unmarked at the backpost.
Their pressure bore fruit with 12 minutes left, Meftah’s flicked header from a corner beating the Wydad keeper at the near post. But, it was too little too late, and their efforts at bowing out with a honorable score-line couldn’t bear much fruit.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)