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Wydad beat Petro to clinch Champions League Group A top spot

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Wydad1
Wydad line up before the match
  • Wydad beat Petro de Luanda 2-0 in Angola
  • They now lead Group B with two matches to go
  • JS Kabylie also won their match and are second

Defending champions Wydad Athletic Club and their North African rivals JS Kabylie are the leading candidates to progress to the quarter finals of the CAF Champions League from Group B after both won their matches on Saturday night.

Wydad beat Angola’s Petro de Luanda 2-0 at their backyard to move top of the group while Jabylie won 2-1 against AS Vita Club in Algiers to go second. In the tight group

In Luanda, second half goals from Arsene Zola and Bouly Junior Sambou gave Wydad the victory. With the win, the holders top Group A with nine points, five ahead of third placed Petro and will only need a point in their next match to affirm a place in the last eight.

They completed a home and away sweep over Petro, showing resurgence after a slow start to the group phase.

Home side Petro were more adventurous in an opening half that didn’t bear goals. They had some chances, with the best being in the 37th minute. Anderson Cruz struck a shot from distance which the keeper saved, with Tiago Azulao following up on the rebound but it was blocked against the crossbar by a defender.

Chance at the stroke of halftime 

At the stroke of halftime, Gilberto sneaked on the blindside of a defender to head a cross goalward, but it couldn’t hit the target.

In the second half, Zola gave Wydad the lead after 59th minutes when the goalkeeper failed to comfortably clear out a corner and the Congolese defender managed to guide the ball home from close range.

The home side, rattled by the goal, picked up the tempo and tried to get themselves back into the game. IN the 80th minute, they were denied by the crossbar when Gleison’s freekick curled over the wall but couldn’t dip under the woodwork.

Eight minutes on the other end, Wydad also hit the crossbar, this time Saifeddine Bouhrati picking a drive from range.

But, two minutes later, Wydad delivered the sucker punch, Bouhrati delivering the cross that Sambou gladly scored with off a bouncing header.

Petro’s chances of qualification are now slim and now have to win away to second placed JS Kabylie next weekend to have any realistic hopes.

Kabylie win at home 

Kabylie win at home 

JS Kabylie warming up before the match

Kabylie meanwhile came from a goal down to beat Vita. Substitute Massinissa Nait scored the winner in the 86th minute.

Marouf Tchakei’s brilliantly struck freekick from 35 yards out had given Vita the lead, but the home side mounted a comeback with defender Moussa Benzaid drawing them level before Nait scored the late winner.

The opening half was tightly contested with few scoring chances from both sides. JSK’s best chance was in the 32nd minute when a corner Moustapha Alili isolated at the backpost but his shot on the half volley was saved.

Vita’s best chance was in the 44th minute off an Eric Kabwe freekick whioch sailed wide.

In the second half, the tempo of the game picked up and Vita broke the deadlock just 10 minutes after the restart when Tchakei’s swerving freekick from distance curled away from the keeper leaving him rooted to his spot.

More chances for the home side 

The home side immediately pushed to get back into the game and they had a chance in the 58th minute when Benzaid connected well with a header from a corner, but it sailed straight to the keeper’s arms.

But, five minutes later, he levelled the scores for the home side with a brilliant bouncing volley after connecting to a cross from the right.

The goal gave them some renewed vigor and they pushed to get a winner. They did so with four minutes of regulation left, Nait curling the ball to the far post after being flicked through by Reda Boumechra.

It was the goal they needed to firm up the victory at home, and keep their last eight hopes alive.

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