African Champions League: Egypt's Ahly aim to progress

Egyptian side Al Ahly can progress to the quarter-finals of the African Champions League with a win in Morocco over Wydad Casablanca/


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Egypt's Al Ahly can reach the knockout stage of the African Champions League if they beat Wydad Casablanca in Morocco on Wednesday.

It would be the first time they have made it to that knockout phase since winning the title for an eighth time in 2013 by beating Orlando Pirates of South Africa.

They failed to reach even the group stage the following two years and a last season were third in their group.

Ahly coach and former player Hossam El Badry has acknowledged supporters are growing impatient.

"It is not a secret that our supporters are demanding that we win the Champions League this year," he said before leaving for Morocco.

"We want to add a ninth star to our shirts and to play again in the FIFA Club World Cup, where we have not performed to our full potential in past appearances.

"Our ambition is to win every competition we play in."

Ahly and Zanaco of Zambia top Group D with seven points after three rounds, 2016 semi-finalists Wydad have three and Coton Sport of Cameroon none.

Continental club victories for sides visiting Morocco are rare, but Ahly edged Wydad 1-0 in Casablanca at the same stage last year thanks to a Ramy Rabia goal.

Ahly comfortably overcame Wydad 2-0 in Cairo this month thanks to goals from Moamen Zakaria and Nigerian Oluwafemi 'Junior' Ajayi.

Zanaco will also be hoping Ahly collect maximum points because victory over Coton Sport in Cameroon would then also guarantee the Lusaka side a place in the last eight.

The Zambians won the first encounter against the 2008 Champions League runners-up 2-1 with Diddy Kitumbo nodding the winning goal five minutes from time.

Esperance of Tunisia are another team one win away from the knockout stage, and that could come at home Wednesday in Group C against title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.

The two-time African champions are tipped to win after a 2-1 victory in Pretoria this month thanks to a brace from Tunisian international Taha Yassine Khenissi.

The other Group C tie is Saint George of Ethiopia travelling to face AS Vita Club of DR Congo.

Zamalek of Egypt, runners-up to Sundowns last year, visit 2015 beaten finalists USM Alger of Algeria for a Group B top-of-the-table showdown.

Al Hilal of Sudan surprisingly held Group A pacesetters Etoile du Sahel in Tunisia last time out and will hope home advantage in Omdurman can help them claim all three points this time.


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