Wydad Casablanca will host Al Ahly in the first leg of the CAF Champions League 2019/2020 semifinals on Saturday, 17th October 2020, from 2100 CAT. Wydad will be looking to put behind the setback of losing the Botola to Raja Casablanca. On the other hand, Pitso Mosimane will become the latest Al Ahly coach to face the pressure of trying to win the CAFCL for the Red Devils. Can he do it? Maybe…
Wydad Casablanca Probable XI: Tagnaouti – Noussir, Namjeddine, Asrir, Attiyat allah – Jabrane, El Karti – Aouk, Hassouni, El Haddad – Kazadi (4-2-3-1)
Al Ahly Probable XI: El Shenawy – Hany, Yasser, Ashraf, Maaloul – Dieng, Sulaya – El Shahat, Afsha, Ajayi – Badji (4-2-3-1)
What is at Stake?
Wydad Casablanca did not end up champions of Morocco but I am sure they will be pleased by how their season has turned out. They Reds recovered from incredibly poor form both domestically and continentally to take the Botola title race to the last day plus were able to reach the CAFCL semifinal again. The man leading them on this occassion is Miguel Gamondi. He is Wydad’s fifth coach of the season (wow!).
He is unbeaten in nine matches, one of which was a 0-0 draw against Raja Casablanca. Gamondi’s knowledge about his team stretches beyond the nine matches he has coaches. The Argentine joined Wydad in January 2020 as Technical Director. Therefore, he will know a thing or two about the technical capability of his team.
Al Ahly cruised to another Egyptian Premier League title (yawn…) but lost Rene Weiler. The Swiss was replaced by Pitso Mosimane and everyone is itching to see what he can do as a black African coach in North Africa. Pitso knows both Ahly and Wydad very well. These teams were repeat CAFCL opponents in his days as Sundowsn coach.
The Egyptians will be less worries about their recent form and more concern with their poor away results in the CAF Champions League. They have managed away draws against Al Hilal, Platinum FC and Mamelodi Sundowns but their loss against Etoile Sahel showed Ahly can still be unsettled on foreign soil. In fact, they have only really had one convincing CAFCL performance this season – and that was against Sundowns.
What will the Match be Like?
Both teams are expected to line-up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formations.
Wydad Casablanca lost Mohamed Nahiri to the Saudi League. The leftback was instrumental in creating scoring opportunities and was a goal threat through his proficiency in taking set pieces. His place is going to be taken by one of Gaddarine and Attiyat-allah. Other names missing in defence will be Achraf Dari and Cheick Comara. The central defenders suffer long term injuries.
The rest of Wydad’s squad will be consistent with what we have seen in both the Botola and CAFCL despite the appointment of a new coach. The hosts will play on the counter attack despite being at home to set up Ahly’s defence against the individual quality of Aouk and El Haddad.
Al Ahly are plagued by injuries and many of the players in our probable XI may not be passed fit for the match. Among the worries for Pitso is his
goalkeeper, El Shenawy, and the central defence. All of Rami Rabia, Yasser Ibrahim, Mahmoud Metwally, Ayman Ashraf and Saad Samir are either out or doubtful to feature – squad update here.
These setbacks should not prevent Ahly from going for the jugular as the have done in pretty all their matches this season. Although, I must add that their big game performances have not been mesmerizing. The key will be converting their anticipated dominance of the ball into goals.
Wydad Casablanca 1-1 Al Ahly
Wydad have found time to recover their form but their performances and results have been less impressive than those of Al Ahly. The Moroccan side will be without key personnel in defence while Ahly is boosted by the return of Hamdi Fathi in midfield. Ahly have a better midfield and attack – as such should secure a good result.