Morocco’s Wydad Club Athletic inched closer to booking a place in the quarter finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League after beating Egyptian side Zamalek 1-0 at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday.
Skipper Yahya Jabrane scored the lone goal off the penalty spot in the second half to hand the two-time champions their third victory in Group D.
They sit top of the pile with nine points, two ahead of second placed Petro de Luanda. They could earn a ticket to the last eight on Saturday if Petro beat fellow Angolan rivals G.D. Sagrada Esperança in the other group match in Luanda.
While Wydad have enhanced their hopes of qualification, Zamalek’s chances are now effectively lowered. If Petro win on Saturday, then the White Knights of Egypt will not have a mathematical opportunity of progressing to the quarters with two rounds of matches to play.
They have only managed two points off draws against the two Angolan sides while Wydad has beaten them home and away.
There weren’t many scoring chances in the opening half with Wydad’s Congolese forward Guy Mbenza seeing a looping header go over.
Despite playing at home, Zamalek couldn’t create much infront of goal as the Wydad backline kept their forward line, including the dangerous Ahmed Sayed ‘Zizo’ at bay.
In the second half, Wydad got the much needed goal two minutes after the bounce when skipper Jabrane scored his third goal of the tournament and second consecutive against Zamalek.
The skipper converted from an expertly taken penalty after a Zamalek defender handled inside the box.
Aymane El Hassouni came close to doubling the tally for Wydad when he struck a superb volley from the edge of the area, but his effort went wide.
On the other end, Zamalek had a good chance to draw level when Zizo stepped over a freekick from distance, but his curling effort was punched away by the keeper.
Zamalek made attacking changes with Omar Elsaied coming off for Seifeddine Jaziri and Hazem Emam coming on for defender Hamza Mathlouthi. The three changes sought to add spice in attack, but the home side could not break the resilient Wydad who held on to the slim lead.
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