Champions Wydad make statement by crushing Rivers Utd

Captain Yahya Jabrane (C) holds the CAF Champions League trophy after Wydad Casablanca beat Al Ahly in the 2022 final

Captain Yahya Jabrane (C) holds the CAF Champions League trophy after Wydad Casablanca beat Al Ahly in the 2022 final. Photo: – / AFP/File
Captain Yahya Jabrane and Bouly Sambou scored twice each as title-holders Wydad Casablanca crushed Rivers United of Nigeria 6-0 on Sunday in a CAF Champions League qualifier.

The unexpectedly large winning margin earned the three-time African champions a 7-2 aggregate victory after losing narrowly in Port Harcourt last weekend.

Besides Jabrane and Senegalese Sambou, Ayoub el Amloud and Hamid Ahadad also scored for Wydad in a performance that will strike fear into many of their Champions League rivals.

Wydad overwhelmed Rivers following setbacks on and off the field — losing the CAF Super Cup match to fellow Moroccans Renaissance Berkane after coach Walid Regragui quit.

Regragui later replaced Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic as coach of World Cup-bound Morocco, who will face Belgium, Croatia and Canada at the group stage in Qatar.

The last 32 second leg thrashing of Rivers came as a huge relief to new coach Houcine Ammouta, who had come under firer after losing to Berkane and failing in Nigeria.

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Wydad are among 16 clubs who have secured group places, and a draw in Cairo on a date to be announced will split the survivors into four groups with the first matches during February.

Elsewhere, Horoya of Guinea equalised in added time to draw 1-1 with ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast in a big west African showdown in Nongo near Conakry and advanced 2-1 on aggregate.

Drama as Horoya qualify
Aubin Kramo scored midway through the second half for ASEC to bring the clubs level overall and a penalty shootout was looming until Mohamed Fofana nodded a cross into the far corner.

The outcome confirmed Horoya as the most successful club in the region having booked a fifth group appearance in six seasons.

In another eagerly anticipated regional clash, Al Hilal of Sudan edged Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in Omdurman to join compatriots Al Merrikh among the 16 title contenders.

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Captain and star forward Mohamed Abdelrahman netted after just three minutes to earn twice runners-up Hilal a 2-1 aggregate victory.

The other major Tanzanian club, Simba, did succeed, beating Primeiro Agosto of Angola 1-0 in Dar es Salaam after establishing a 3-1 first-leg lead.

Zambian Moses Phiri scored the lone second-leg goal to lift his Champions League tally this season to five, two less than chart-topper Fiston Mayele from Young Africans.

Coton Sport of Cameroon also qualified thanks to a 2-1 win over Royal Leopard of Eswatini in Garoua through goals from Souaibou Marou and Patient Wassou.

In a delayed first leg, former champions V Club from the Democratic Republic of Congo drew 0-0 away to preliminary round giant-killers Rail Kadiogo of Burkina Faso.

Kadiogo had to host the match in the Benin city of Cotonou because there is no international-standard stadium in their homeland.

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