• CAF CL: Al Ahly, Wydad share spoils in first leg

    (FIFA.com) The first leg of the 2017 CAF Champions League final ended in a 1-1 draw between Al Ahly and Wydad Casablanca in Alexandria, Egypt.

    The match got off to a very lively start as hosts Al Ahly scored in the third minute through Momen Zakaria. Wydad answered with a goal of their own just over ten minutes later thanks to in-form Achraf Bencharki, and neither side were able to find the winning goal for the rest of the match.

    Al Ahly produced plenty of chances, especially in the second half, but the visitors were able to do enough on the evening to frustrate Hossam El-Badry's side.

    Zakaria scored in the third minute after he received a pass outside the penalty area before quickly unleashing a shot with his left foot into the back of the net.

    Wydad Casablanca then replied with a goal of their own when Mohamed Ounajem broke through on the right flank and delivered a superb ball for Bencharki to head in the equaliser.

    Wydad will now host Al Ahly in the second leg of the final on 4 November in Casablanca. The winner with the superior aggregate score will lift the CAF Champions League title and earn a place at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.

    See goals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp1CJhSdtcw

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  • Transfers: Stoke want Mimoun Mahi with Mark Hughes set to trigger Groningen striker’s £2m release clause

    (www.thesun.co.uk) MARK HUGHES is ready to pounce on Mimoun Mahi’s release clause at Groningen to boost Stoke’s season.

    Sparky is among the Premier League and Championship managers who want the Morocco forward in a £2million deal.

    Swansea have also been to Holland to watch the 23-year-old, who scored 17 goals in Eredivisie last season.

    Nottingham Forest are also in the hunt for Mahi and Bristol City are prepared to rekindle their interest after bidding for him in the summer.

    Mahi has one full season left on his Groningen contract and the Dutch side must let him talk to clubs if they receive a £2m bid.

    Stoke boss Hughes, with one Premier League win since mid-August, wants to inject more pace into his side when the January window opens.

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  • CAF CL: History Ahly favours against Wydad in epic final

    (CAFonline.com) It will be CAF Champions League final number 11 for Egyptian giants Al Ahly, yet their first ever against a Moroccan opponent.

    Record eight-time winners, Ahly have lost only two other finals, but conspicuously missing from their list of final opponents is a club from Morocco, and Saturday’s final will be the first involving teams from the two North African countries.

    With other 13 CAF tournament finals on their books, including four in the defunct CAF Cup Winners’ Cup (won all four), one in CAF Confederation Cup (won in 2014) and eight in CAF Super Cup (won six and lost two), Ahly has faced only one Moroccan side in the decisive match in a continental competition.

    The only meeting was the 2006 CAF Super Cup, when Ahly faced Forces Armées Royales (known as FAR Rabat) a few days after Egypt won the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations. A goalless draw after 120 minutes meant that the game was to be decided via penalties, which Ahly emerged victorious 4-2 thanks to heroic saves from goalkeeper Essam El Hadary.

    Besides the CAF Super Cup clash, Ahly has locked horns with Moroccan opponents in 16 games over eight different encounters. The first was in CAF Cup Winners’ Cup first round in 1984, when the Red Devils played against CLAS Casablanca (a club that was dissolved in 1995). A 3-1 win in Cairo was followed by another 2-0 win in Casablanca to see Ahly through, in a tournament they eventually won.

    Three successive encounters against Raja Athletic Club in the CAF Champions League group stages followed. First was in 1999, and saw Ahly losing 1-0 in Cairo before forcing a 1-1 draw in Casablanca. In 2002, Raja won at home 2-1, and held Ahly to a 3-3 draw in Cairo. Ahly finally defeated the ‘Green Eagles’ by a lone goal in 2005, before drawing 1-1 away in the year they won their fourth CAF Champions League trophy.

    Moghreb Tetouan were the opponents in 2015 CAF Champions League 1/8th round. Each side won 1-0 at home, and Tetouan shocked Ahly winning 4-3 on penalties.

    On the other hand, final opponent Wydad Athletic Club has crossed the path of Ahly three times at the group phase of the premier continental club championship. In 2011, they held Ahly to a couple of draws, 3-3 in Cairo and 1-1 in Casablanca. In 2016, a barren draw in Alexandria was followed by a rare Ahly win in Morocco by a lone goal.

    This season saw Ahly and Wydad again in the same group, with each side winning at home 2-0. Moamen Zakaria and Nigerian-import Junior Ajayi scored in each half to give Ahly victory in Alexandria last June, but for Congolese Fabrice Ondama and Walid Karti to emulate the feat for Wydad in Casablanca a fortnight later.

    Overall Ahly has battled Moroccan sides in 17 games. The Red Devils have the upper hand with six wins, seven draws and just four defeats. Yet the most important clash is yet to come.

    A stake is a cash reward of 2,500,000 US Dollars for the winner and the ticket to represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup in December in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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  • NT: Oussama Tannane will be out for at least six weeks

    (TheAtlasLions.com) Las Palmas forward Oussama Tannane will be out for at least six weeks through injury confirmed his club yesterday.

    Tannane suffers from an injury on the right adductor.

    The Morocco international visited a clinic in La Coruña where he had an MRI scan that confirmed the injury he sustained last Sunday during the game between UD Las Palmas against Villarreal.

    Tannane will miss out the final World Cup 2018 qualifier against Cote d' Ivoire on Nov. 11th.

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  • NT: Adel Taarabt Hopes to Re-Join Moroccan Football Team

    (Morocco World News) Rabat – After long-range efforts to regain his football skills, Moroccan international midfielder Adel Taarabt scored a fabulous goal on Wednesday for his Italian team, Genoa, in a Serie A game against Napoli.

    Despite their loss, Genoa showed great skill in terms of defense, especially in the second half of the match. The 28-year-old Moroccan opened the game with the stunning strike in fourth minute of the match. Ten minutes later, the opponent’s forward and midfielder Dries Mertens scored an equalizer.

    Napoli’s second goal came at the 30-minute mark, again by Mertens. Ervin Zukanovic, Genoa’s defender, scored a goal in his own net, giving the opponent a 3-1 lead. However, Armado Izzo trimmed the deficit to one point, when he scored a goal for his team in the 60 minute of the match.

    In a post-match interview with beIN Sports, Taarabt expressed his happiness in Moroccan Arabic to score his goal against “one of the best teams in the world after Barcelona or Real Madrid.”

    The footballer said that he played two games against Wednesday’s opponent. “I scored two goals against them so far. I am happy. […] We hoped for more in order to achieve more points. Unfortunately, we could not, but I am happy that I have scored against them.”

    The footballer expressed hope over his future, explaining that he was working hard to get back in shape after gaining weight during a two-year absence. “I worked for more than three months to get back to my level. I am happy and Inshallah [God willing] I have to keep going like this.”

    After being asked by the beIN Sports reporter about if he was expecting an invitation from Morocco’s football coach Herve Renard to participate in the upcoming World Cup Qualifier game against Ivory Coast, the footballer answered the question with sparkling eyes. “I did well with Genoa to be able to re-join the Moroccan team.”

    “The Moroccan squad played good matches. There is still a solo match to be qualified for the World Cup and I hope to be invited by Herve.”

    The midfielder added that he “needs to keep working on himself like now. I am now more grown up, and I hope we can make it to the World Cup.” Taarabt concluded his message by wishing to receive a call from Renard “in order to travel to Ivory Coast and achieve a good result.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPz72zZifK0

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  • CAF CL: Al Ahly, Wydad Casablanca face off in CAF CL final

    (Gulf Today) Moroccan Champions Wydad Casablanca prepare to face Egyptian legends Al Ahly SC, as the first leg of the CAF Champions League final kicks off on Saturday at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Egypt.

    The winner of the final will secure a coveted spot at the world’s biggest club football competition, the FIFA Club World 0Cup UAE 2017, where they’ll face CONCACAF champions, CF Pachuca, in the quarter-final round of the tournament.

    The 14th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup will be held in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain from Dec.6-16.

    A total of eight matches will be contested, between seven regional champions for the ultimate club accolade.

    Having previously competed in the tournament five times in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2013, Al Ahly SC are no strangers to the FIFA Club World Cup.

    Wydad Casablanca arrive at the CAF Champions League final with the hopes of qualifying for the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in their history.

    Their city rivals, Raja Casablanca, became the first Moroccan and Arab team to reach a FIFA Club World Cup final in 2013.

    Al Ahly SC will head into the final in high hopes, following a sensational semi-final win against Etoile du Sahel with an aggregate score of 7-4.

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  • WC2018: Egypt assistant coach hopes to avoid Germany, Morocco in 2018 World Cup finals

    (Ahram Online) Egypt's assistant coach Osama Nabih said that he hopes his team will not face Germany or Morocco in the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, while also expressing his confidence in the Pharaohs' ability to reach the second round of the tournament.

    The Pharaohs are awaiting December's 2018 World Cup draw which will determine their scheduled opponents.

    "I don't want to face Germany," Nabih told a television programme.

    "Among the Arab teams, I hope to not face Morocco if they qualify alongside Saudi Arabia and Tunisia," he added.

    The Pharaohs sealed their World Cup ticket with one match to spare in Group E after beating Congo 2-1 in a dramatic clash in Alexandria on 8 October, thanks to a brace from star winger Salah, which included a stoppage-time penalty.

    "Whomever we will face in the groups stage, I am confident of the players' ability to reach the second round of the World Cup in Russia," Nabih said.

    Early this month, Nabih revealed that he prefers to play Brazil in the group stage of the finals in Russia.

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  • Serie A: Adel Taarabt scores against Napoli!

    Serie A: Adel Taarabt goal against Napoli! Game underway (1-2). #genoa #taarabt

    https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x665vo6

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  • Transfers: Sofiane Boufal's agent reveals Southampton man had Fiorentina and Inter Milan after him in the summer

    The agent of Southampton star Sofiane Boufal has claimed that both Fiorentina and Inter Milan wanted to sign him during the summer.

    The 24-year-old scored a stunning goal against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, and his representative has revealed to SFR Sport 1 that Boufal had the option to leave St. Mary's during the summer window.

    "He feels good now, he's just waiting to play more," Yvan Le Mée said.

    "In August we had clubs like Inter, Fiorentina and Celta Vigo, who know what they're doing when it comes to buying players, who all wanted to buy him at any cost.

    "Southampton said no though, and now he's proving he's someone who can win points."

    Read more at https://talksport.com/football/sofiane-boufals-agent-reveals-southampton-man-had-fiorentina-and-inter-milan-after-him#9OsLTsR7q4hbGRrl.99

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  • FIFA CWC 2018: Wydad and Al Ahly vie for Fifa Club World Cup spot

    (Gulf News) Alexandria: Moroccan champions Wydad Casablanca face Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the first leg of the Caf Champions League final at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, on Saturday.

    The winner of the two-legged final (second leg in Casablanca, November 4) will play in the Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, December 6-16, where they will face Concacaf champions Pachuca of Mexico, in the quarter-final.

    A total of eight matches will be played in the Club World Cup between seven regional champions, including Real Madrid, all contesting for the ultimate club accolade.

    Having previously competed in the tournament five times in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2013, Al Ahly are no strangers to the Club World Cup. They finished in third in 2006, defeating Concacaf champions Club America 2-1 in the third-place play-off.

    Wydad Casablanca arrive at the Caf Champions League final with the hopes of qualifying for the Club World Cup for the first time in their history. Their city rivals, Raja Casablanca, became the first Moroccan and Arab team to reach a Club World Cup final in 2013.

    Wydad Casablanca’s incredible run to the Caf Champions League final saw them defeat last year’s Caf Champions League winners, Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarter-final and last year’s Algerian league winners, USM Alger in the semi-final.

    Al Ahly head into the final in high hopes, following a sensational semi-final win against Etoile du Sahel with an aggregate score of 7-4.

    Their second-leg 6-2 home win against the Tunisian side was the highest score recorded in a Caf Champions League semi-final. If victorious in the final, Al Ahly will become the most decorated Caf Champions League side in history, with nine titles to their name.

    Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal will take on Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the first leg of the AFC Champions League final on November 18 in Riyadh.

    Four teams have qualified for the Club World Cup to date. They are; Spain’s Real Madrid, New Zealand’s Auckland City, Mexico’s Pachuca and the UAE’s Al Jazira.

    The winner of the Caf Champions League final will be the fifth qualifier for the tournament, with the remaining two teams — the AFC Champions League winner and the Copa Libertadores winner — set to be determined between November 25 and 29.

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