Defending champions, Al Ahly SC of Cairo and Wydad Club Athletic of Casablanca have the advantage heading into the second leg fixtures of their 2022 CAF Champions League semi-finals, to be played this weekend.
Wydad lead Petro of Angola 3-1 from the first leg played in Luanda last weekend while Ahly have a massive 4-0 advantage over Algeria’s ES Setif heading into the second leg in Algiers on Saturday.
Morocco’s Wydad managed a massive result away from home with three away goals and that will be a massive boost for them as they host the return tie at their noisy Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca on Friday night.
An own goal from Tiago Azulao, and further strikes from Yahya Jabrane and Guy Mbenza handed Wydad the huge step in Luanda, making up for the 2-1 defeat they suffered in their last defeat in Southern Africa.
In Casablanca, Petro have bad memories of their last trip up north. The two sides met in their last match of the group stages with Wydad earning a massive 5-1 victory.
Wydad have only lost thrice at home in the Champions League since 2007. Their only defeats have been at the hands of Al Ahly (2016 and 2020) and Kaizer Chiefs (June 2021).
Petro meanwhile are looking to make their first ever Champions League final, and this will require a massive comeback in a hostile environment.
They have won only one of their last five Champions League matches, a 2-1 home win over Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of the quarter finals.
Their away record is worrying, having won only one of their last 10 away meetings, and it was against fellow Angolan side Sagrada Esperanca in the group stages of this year’s showpiece.
Meanwhile, Al Ahly of Egypt have one foot in the final courtesy of their four-star performance, anchored by South African star, Percy Tau.
Tau put up a man of the match performance with two goals and two assists and will look for a similar show when the side plays in Algiers.
Legendary South African coach Pitso Mosimane is seeking his third consecutive Champions League trophy with the Red Devils and fourth as a coach and victory in Algeria will be another step in the right direction.
Setif, winners of the Champions League in 1988 and 2014 will need a massive performance at home to overturn a four-goal deficit and progress to the final.
They will need to win the game by a margin of more than five goals to ensure a place in the finale.
In the Champions League at home, Setif has won three, drawn one and lost one of their last five matches.
The last meeting between these two sides in Algeria was in 2018 when Setif won 2-1.
Ahead of Saturday’s duel, they will need to summon these spirits and more, to overturn the massive deficit against the Red Devils.
Orlando Pirates of South Africa will be in the driver’s seat on Sunday, when hosting the CAF Champions League second leg, semi-final fixture, against Al Ahli Tripoli.
Pirates in the first leg played last Sunday in Benghazi ran out 2-0 winners with goals from Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele in the first 30 minutes of that encounter.
TP Mazembe who needed a goal scored deep into stoppage time in Lubumbashi to beat Morocco’s RS Berkane 1-0 and earn a slim advantage in the first leg of their semi-final tie-in on Sunday.
The five-time African champions from DR Congo take the solitary goal from John Bakata to the decisive second leg in Algeria, on Sunday.
CAF on Tuesday announced that Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria will host the 2022 Confederation Cup final on Friday, May 20, 2022.
CAF also announced that it will confirm the kick-off time for the final, in due course.
Reporting by Chinedum Ohanusi; Editing by Tina Oyinsan