Sun­downs meet Za­malek in CCL fi­nal

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

FIVE time cham­pi­ons Za­malek of Egypt will meet South Africa’s Mamelodi Sun­downs in next month’s African Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal af­ter fend­ing off a spir­ited Wy­dad Casablanca in a semi-fi­nal sec­ond leg on Satur­day.

Za­malek, who last played in the fi­nal 14 years ago, ad­vanced 6-5 on ag­gre­gate de­spite los­ing 5-2 to their Moroc­can op­po­nents in Ra­bat.

Sun­downs beat Zam­bia’s Zesco United 2-0 at home to go through 3-2 on ag­gre­gate.

A 4-0 vic­tory in last week­end’s first leg gave Za­malek a com­fort­able plat­form for the re­turn match but they were shaken by a dra­matic come­back from Wy­dad.

Wil­liam Je­bor scored twice to help Wy­dad to a 3-1 half time lead and a pair from Fabrice On­dama af­ter the break ex­tended the score to 5-1 -- putting the sides level on ag­gre­gate but with Wy­dad still need­ing one more to win the tie.

With 10 min­utes left, Za­malek scored on the counter at­tack through Stan­ley Ohawuchi to end the home hopes.

Wy­dad had fired John Toshack as coach af­ter the first leg de­feat and on Mon­day ap­pointed Se­bastien Desabre as his re­place­ment, with the French­man com­ing close to en­gi­neer­ing the big­gest come­back in African club com­pe­ti­tion his­tory.

Sun­downs, who beat Za­malek both home and away in the group phase, con­tin­ued their fairy­tale run to the fi­nal af­ter hav­ing lost in the pre­lim­i­nary rounds.

They were elim­i­nated by AS Vita Club of the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo be­fore the group phase but were then re­in­stated into the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter Vita were found to have fielded a sus­pended player in their open­ing round fix­ture.

Sun­downs grabbed the op­por­tu­nity to go on and win their group and on Satur­day ad­vance to their sec­ond-ever fi­nal ap­pear­ance, 15 years af­ter the first.

Liberian in­ter­na­tional An­thony Laf­for scored the opener and Percy Tau added a sec­ond mid­way through the sec­ond half to see them come­back from 2-1 af­ter last week’s first leg in Zam­bia.

“Peo­ple might say we have snuck through the back door, but we’ve taken our chance and now we are in the fi­nal,” said coach Pitso Mosi­mane.

Sun­downs will host the first leg of the fi­nal Pre­to­ria on Oc­to­ber 15 with the re­turn match in Egypt a week later. — Su­perS­port in

Khama Bil­liat

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