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Sundowns dumped out of Champions League
Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns lost the match 1-0, which saw the aggregate score locked at 1-1, but three awful penalties from Percy Tau, Yannick Zakri and Bangaly Soumahoro in the shootout sealed their fate.
Salaheddine Saidi had given Wydad the lead in the match with a goal in the first half, and they were unlucky not to double their advantage with a number of spurned opportunities.
The closest Sundowns came was a shot from captain Hlompho Kekana that flashed wide of goal. The tie went to a penalty shootout and it was Wydad who held their nerve to book a place in the next stage as they seek a first Champions League title since 1992.
Wydad will now meet USM Alger in the semifinals after the Algerian side edged past Mozambique outfit Ferroviário Beira on the away-goals rule. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, the return finished 0-0 on Saturday in Algiers and USM, somewhat unconvincingly, booked their place in the last four.
Eight-time winners Al Ahly eased into the semifinals with a 2-1 away victory over Tunisian side Esperance that gave them a 4-3 aggregate success.
A penalty from Yassine Khenissi had put Esperance ahead five minutes before half-time, but two goals in the second period through Tunisian defender Ali Maâloul and Nigerian Oluwafemi Ajayi sealed the win for Ahly. Both of Ahly’s scorers have previously played for Tunisian side CS Sfaxien, so this victory will have been particularly sweet for them.
Ahly are now into the semifinals of the Champions League for the first time since 2013, when they won the last of their titles.
The Egytpian giants must await their semifinal opponents, with another Tunisian side, Etoile du Sahel, to host Libyan outfit Al Ahli Tripoli on Sunday. The first leg of that tie, ironically played in neutral Cairo, finished 0-0 and Etoile will be heavy favourites to advance.
The first legs of the semifinals will be played on the weekends of September 29 – October 1 and October 20-22.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, South African side SuperSport United needed a stoppage time equaliser from Thuso Phala to seal their semifinal place at the expense of Zambian outfit Zesco United.
Phala scored twice on the day as SuperSport played to a 2-2 draw, taking the tie on the away-goals rule after they played to a 0-0 draw in the home leg.
John Ching’andu and David Odhiambo had twice given Zesco the lead, but they could not hold on and conceded late to see their title hopes fade.
SuperSport now await the winner of the tie between Algerian side MC Alger and Tunisian outfit Club Africain that will be played on Sunday. The Algerians lead 1-0 from their home leg but must now make the difficult journey to Rades.
Moroccan side FUS Rabat beat CS Sfaxien 5-4 on penalties after the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 on aggregate.
Sfaxien won the home leg of their tie 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a goal from Karim Aouadhi, but were beaten in the shootout to end their hopes of a fourth Confederation Cup title.
They now await the winner of the tie between DR Congo side TP Mazembe and Sudan’s Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid, with the former heavy favourites as they take a 2-1 lead into their home leg on Sunday.
Ezekiel Azure Zion is a sports writer and a blogger who loves what he does.