Defending champion Wydad Athletic Club ran riot, thrashing Nigeria’s Rivers United 6-0 in Casablanca on Sunday night as the groups for the 2022-23 TotalEnergies CAF Champions League finally took shape, with one more slot to fill remaining.
Sudan’s Al Hilal, Guinea’s Horoya, Tanzanian giants Simba SC and Cameroon’s Coton Sport all confirmed their places in the group stages with victories in the return ties of the second preliminary round.
They join Vipers SC (uganda), Al Ahly SC (Egypt), Raja CA (Morocco), Al Merrikh (Sudan), JS Kabylie (Algeria), Esperance Tunis (Tunisia), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Petro Luanda (Angola), Zamalek (Egypt and CR Belouizdad (Algeria).
In Casablanca, holders Wydad needed a huge performance after losing the first leg 2-1 against Rivers, and they sure did so with skipper Yahya Jebrane and Bouly Sambou hitting a brace each.
After a period of resistance in the opening half hour, Wydad finally found their breakthrough when Ali El Amlouda broke the deadlock after 32 minutes.
The tide went against the Nigerian visitors as they were reduced to 10 men after goalkeeper Mutawakilu Seidu was sent off with a straight red card. The Nigerians had to make a change, with Malachi Ohawume being sacrificed for reserve goalkeeper Victor Sochima.
The substitute’s first task was to face a Jebrane penalty and he could not do much as the hosts went 2-0 up at halftime.
Wydad would be more assertive in the second half, using their numerical advantage to score four unanswered goals. Sambou scored his brace within seven minutes, hitting the back of the net in the 49th and 46th minutes.
Jebrane completed his brace of penalty goals in the 69th minute before Hamid Ahadad completed the rout at the stroke of 90 minutes.
Elsewhere, Tanzanian giants Simba SC earned their place back in the group stages after a 1-0 at home against Angola’s Primero de Agosto. Moses Phiri’s low strike in the 32nd minute was enough to hand Wekundu wa Msimbazi victory in Dar es Salaam.
They progressed 4-1 on aggregate, having won the first leg away from home 3-1.
Their arch rivals Yanga SC didn’t have as much luck as they lost 1-0 away to Sudan’s Al Hilal, to drop down to the CAF Confederation Cup. Mohamed Abdelrahman’s goal in the third minute was the vital winner for Hilal who made another consecutive place in the group stage.
The first leg tie between these two sides ended 1-1 in Dar es Salaam.
Guinea’s Horoya also progressed despite being held to a 1-1 draw at home against Cote d’Ivoire’s Asec Mimosas. They had won the first leg 1-0 away from home and thus progressed with a 2-1 aggregate score.
In Garoua, Souaibou Marou and Patient Gouegoue Wassou scored in the first half as hosts Coton Sport edged out eSwatini’s Royal Leopards 2-1 to progress to the groups 3-2 on aggregate, following a 1-1 draw away from home last weekend.
There is only one spot left to be filled for the 16 group stage places, with Burkina Faso’s AS Kadiogo and DR Congo’s AS Vita yet to play their second leg match. They played the first leg tie on Sunday, the game ending 0-0.
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