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Saturday, December 2, 2023

CAFCL: Petro de Luanda aspire to shock Wydad in Casablanca and overturn first leg deficit

All odds are against Angola’s Petro de Luanda on Friday in the CAF Champions League semifinals as they attempt to go into the red cauldron that is the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca when Morocco’s Botola Pro leaders Wydad AC play there. Wydad did brilliantly to jump out to a 3-0 lead before conceding a late consolation goal in Luanda last Saturday, giving the Reds three away goals and a two-goal lead to make Petro’s mission borderline impossible. Petro will need to score at least three goals in Casablanca in order to advance to the CAFCL final for the first time in their history.

Angolan media acknowledged that the task awaiting Petro is next to impossible but the team is going about its business in preparing for Friday’s second leg. Manager Alexandre Santos ran the team through pre-match drills on Tuesday before the team left for a seven-hour trip including a stopover in Lisbon, Portugal on their way to Casablanca. The team arrived on Thursday and will have the benefit of a previous endeavor in Casablanca against WAC to learn from, where they fell 5-1 in the group stage but did create their fair share of opportunities.

Wydad are confident of finishing the job to set up a CAFCL final that gives them the advantage due to the controversial choice by CAF to hold it in Casablanca. Manager Walid Regragui told his players they have not qualified for the final yet and had the team stay in a quiet setting to avoid the pressures and expectations, also having his charges avoid social media. Set piece specialist Jalal Daoudi is back from a two-match ban and midfielder Reda Jaadi is available after a return from injury.

Attacking midfielder Ayman El Hassouni is questionable but should play some sort of role while Zouheir El Moutaraji is out due to injury. CAF has imposed a restriction on supporters at the stadium with a 30,000 limit after a capacity 55,000 crowd caused issues in Wydad’s quarterfinal home leg against Algeria’s CR Belouizdad.

Petro quer surpreender no reduto do Wydad AC (Jornal de Angola)
Petro tenta inverter desvantagem com Wydad (Angola Press Agency)