CAF Champions League: Anas Zniti Saves Penalty to Increase Raja Casablanca’s Hopes of Dethroning Al Ahly


Raja Casablanca goalkeeper Anas Zniti saved a penalty in Egypt to spice up the probabilities of the Moroccan membership dethroning CAF Champions League holders Al Ahly, regardless of a 2-1 loss of their quarter-final first leg.


Lowered to 10 males in Cairo earlier than the spot-kick after Marouane Hadhoudi was despatched off for dealing with to stop a sure purpose, Raja had been in peril of falling two targets behind on the hour mark.

Amr el Soulia had put Ahly forward from a Thirteenth-minute penalty that evaded the outstretched proper hand of Zniti and landed within the nook of the online.

The Egyptian determined to intention for a similar nook from the second spot-kick, however this time Zniti pushed the ball away.

As Ahly intensified stress within the ultimate half-hour, a mixture of saves by Zniti, courageous defending and wild capturing foiled the hosts.

Hussein el Shahat was the opposite Ahly scorer, ending off an outstanding low cross from South African Percy Tau on 23 minutes at a 40,000-seat Al Salam Stadium that was half full on account of coronavirus protocols.

Dominant Ahly, who ought to have been greater than two targets forward as half-time loomed, had been stung in first-half added time when Mohamed Zrida halved the deficit with a low shot off a cut-back.

It leaves the decide of the quarter-finals within the marquee African membership competitors delicately balanced forward of the return match in Casablanca, which is able to kick off late on Friday.

Footballers are permitted to interrupt the dawn-to-dusk quick through the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan, however most want to not.

– Elusive title treble –

As an alternative, they eat and drink after nightfall and the Confederation of African Soccer (CAF) has agreed to increase the 1900 GMT kick-off deadline, with some matches starting near midnight native time.

Document 10-time African champions Ahly hope to develop into the primary membership to win the competitors three consecutive instances — a feat that has eluded them and three different sides.

Ahly (2007 and 2014) and Tout Puissant Mazembe (1969 and 2011) from the Democratic Republic of Congo failed twice.

Nigerian facet Enyimba (2005) and Esperance (2020) of Tunisia had been different back-to-back winners of the Champions League who couldn’t full a treble.

The winners between Ahly and Raja will guide a two-leg semi-final in opposition to Esperance or Entente Setif of Algeria, who had been held 0-0 at residence in a primary leg the place the guests created extra possibilities.

Chabab Belouizdad, the opposite Algerian contender for the two.5 million {dollars} (2.3 mn euros) first prize, fared even worse than Setif, shedding 1-0 at residence to two-time champions Wydad Casablanca in Algiers.

The Moroccans needed to play 83 minutes a person quick after VAR modified a yellow card given to Jalal Daoudi for a foul to a purple one.

However a headed purpose by Congo Brazzaville worldwide Man Mbenza, sporting a pink coiffure, 19 seconds into the second half determined a match managed by Belouizdad with out creating many clear-cut possibilities.

Needing a attract Casablanca subsequent weekend to qualify, Wydad seem set to achieve the last-four stage for the sixth time in seven seasons and face Petro Luanda of Angola or Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.

Petro got here from behind to win the primary leg 2-1 in Luanda with Brazilian Tiago Azulao cancelling out an early Lyle Lakay purpose, then arrange the late first-half winner for Yano Duarte.

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