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Raja first club to qualify for CAF Champions League quarters

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Raja Club Athletic celebrate their victory. PHOTO/Raja
  • Raja beat Guinea’s Horoya 3-1
  • They have won all their four group matches
  • Cotonsport is the first team to be eliminated

Moroccan giants Raja Club Athletic have become the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 2022-23 CAF Champions League after winning 3-1 away to Horoya AC.

The victory in Guinea maintains Raja’s 100 percent record and they remain top of Group C with maximum 12 points, six ahead of Tanzania’s Simba who moved to second after edging out Ugandan debutants Vipers SC 1-0 in the other group fixture in Dar es Salaam.

Walid Sabbar scored twice in between Mohamed Nahiri’s goal in a match that both sides finished with 10 men. Horoya’s first choice goalkeeper Moussa Camara was sent off after 26 minutes for a second yellow card for handling the ball outside the area.

The hosts had to sacrifice midfielder Naby Soumah for second choice goalkeeper, Sierra Leone’s Mohamed Kamara.

In first half added time, Raja were also reduced to 10 men after Jamal Harkass was sent off for a last-man tackle on Abdoulaye Paye Camara.

Raja lead 2-0 at halftime 

The visitors took a 2-0 lead at the break, Sabbar flicking home from close range a cross from the left off a short corner for the opener after six minutes. Three minutes to the break, they doubled their tally with Nahiri’s brilliantly struck freekick that curled beyond the wall and into the roof of the net.

In the second half, Raja continued dominating despite being the away team and they added their third in the 63rd minute when Sabbar made a daunting run on the left before cutting into the box and slamming a low shot beyond the keeper.

Raja Club Athletic in action against Horoya

Raja Club Athletic in action against Horoya. PHOTO/Raja

Horoya pulled one back six minutes later, the first time Raja were conceding in the group stages when Pape Ndiaye shot from inside the box after a good build up.

Raja should have completely killed off the game with seven minutes left when they won a penalty after keeper Kamara had brought down Naoufel Zerhouni inside the box, but Mohamed Zrida struck his effort wide.

Cotonsport first team to be eliminated 

Meanwhile, Sudan’s Al Hilal have stormed to the top of Group B after beating Cameroon’s Cotonsport 2-0 in Omdurman.

The victory at home not only thrust the Sudanese giants to the top of the group, but handed the Cameroonians their fourth straight defeat, essentially ending their hopes of making the knockout phases.

Cotonsport are bottom with zero points and two matches left in the group.

Hilal meanwhile moved top with nine points from three straight victories, pending erstwhile leaders Mamelodi Sundowns’ high profile clash against record champions Al Ahly next weekend. Downs are on seven points while Ahly are on four at third.

Hilal scored in either half via David Abagna and Makabi Lilepo’s penalty.

They broke the deadlock three minutes to halftime when Ghanaian Abagna swept home from inside the box after a good team move saw skipper Abdelrahman Yousif Yagoub put him through on goal.

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