Egyptian side Al Ahly boosted their chances of advancing to the CAF Champions League final after securing a win away against Wydad Athletic Club in their semi-final first leg.
Al Ahly won 2-0 at the Complexe Mohamed V in Casablanca on Saturday. Mohamed Magdi Afsha opening goal inside five minutes and a second-half penalty from Ali Maaloul gave the eight-time winners the win.
However, the result might have been different had the hosts converted their chances, including a penalty just before halftime. Al Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy had fouled Ivorian forward Gbagbo Laurent in the penalty area but he subsequently denied Badie Aouk from the spot.
Victory saw Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane get his first win against the Moroccan club in his sixth attempt. The previous five games saw the club he managed, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, lose four times and draw just once.
After the game, Mosimane paid tribute to the players, particularly El-Shenawy for his penalty save, but was cautious about early conclusions that the team was already in its 13th final.
“I’m happy with the result, but I would have been much happier had we scored more goals. We have won nothing yet and must now focus on the return leg till we achieve our target and reach the final.”
Wydad coach Miguel Gamondi said he was disappointed in the result as it was a home defeat but added that they will do what they can to overturn the deficit.
“The early goal complicated the game and missing the penalty was even more heartbreaking. We felt exhausted after playing a huge number of games in the domestic league.”
The second leg will take place next Friday at the Cairo International Stadum in Cairo.
The second semi-final, another Morocco v Egypt tie, will take place later on Sunday between Moroccan champions Raja Casablanca and Zamalek.