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CAFCL: Wydad dominate Petro de Luanda and Espérance edge CRB to seal group winner status

Two of Africa’s top clubs, Morocco’s Wydad AC and Tunisian champions Espérance ST, finished off their CAF Champions League group stage efforts by obtaining wins on Saturday to join Mamelodi Sundowns as group winners. Wydad dominated the competition’s surprise team in Petro de Luanda by dismantling the Angolan club in Casablanca, winning 5-1 courtesy of clinical finishing in the final third. Meanwhile, in a much more competitive match in Tunis, Espérance overcame a goal of the competition candidate from visitors CR Belouizdad within the opening two minutes to storm back for a 2-1 home win.

Algeria Republic of Congo forward Juvhel Tsoumou received only his third start of the season but the 31-year-old tallied just after the ten minute mark with a towering header off a corner kick. Another header doubled Wydad’s lead in front of their vocal home crowd when center back Achraf Dari nodded in a lofted cross from Aymane El Hassouni.

El Hassouni also scored in the second half along with Muaid Ellafi while Zouheir El Moutaraji added a goal and assist as well against a Petro side that looked capable but ended up on the end of a decisive result. However, the Angolan club can console themselves with the fact that they already had a spot in the quarterfinals clinched before the match and finish in second place in Group D.

Espérance and CR Belouizdad dueled in a North African matchup and were tied on eleven points coming into a match that ended up being very competitive. With only ninety seconds completed it was the visitors form Algeria who stunned the hosts when Houssem Mrezigue came in for a midfield challenge and blasted an ambitious effort that looped over EST goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifa and into the net for a show stopping opener.

The hosts did excellently to shake off the poor start and it was Nigerian forward Anayo Iwuala who led the Blood and Gold back into the match. Iwuala tracked down a through ball from the midfield and did well to hold the ball up on the left side of the CRB penalty area before laying back for an onrushing Mohamed Amine Ben Hamida, whose low shot could not be kept out by CRB defender and captain Chamseddine Nessakh.

Iwuala was back at it soon after to complete EST’s response before twenty minutes had elapsed. The 23-year-old former Enyimba star received a pass from midfielder Ghailene Chaaleli and punished an overzealous challenge from Ahmed Ait Abdesslem by turning past the CRB center back before driving in and finishing low by keeper Ahmed Abdelkader. CRB provided a stiff challenge but will have to be content with second place Group C while EST clinched top spot.

Highlights from both games are below.

Wydad AC (MAR) 5-1 Petro de Luanda (ANG)

Espérance (TUN) 2-1 CR Belouizdad (ALG)

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