Sport

Pitso Mosimane steers Al Ahly to 2-0 win against Wydad in Casablanca

Pitso Mosimane steers Al Ahly to 2-0 win against Wydad in Casablanca

Pitso Mosimane has steered new club Al Ahly to a dominant 2-0 win against Wydad Casablanca in Morocco on Saturday night, in the first leg of their 2019-20 Caf Champions League semifinal.

Now, just three weeks after leaving Mamelodi Sundowns to become the first black African to coach the Egyptian giants Ahly - Africa's Club of the 20th Century - Mosimane stands on the verge of contesting his second Champions League final.

Mosimane famously steered Sundowns to the 2016 Caf Champions League title, beating Ahly's bitter Cairo foes Zamalek 3-1 on aggregate in the final.

That achievement, and Sundowns' subsequent exploits reaching each Champions League group stage, and two quarterfinals and a semifinal, after 2016, set Mosimane on the path to joining Africa's most successful club Ahly this month, the eight-time winners of the Champions League.

On Saturday night a superbly organised Ahly put in a masterclass at Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca, in a high-class semifinal.

Mohamed Magdi put the Egyptian club ahead in just the fourth minute, and Ahly continued to push hard for a second, which duly arrived via Tunisian defender Ali Maloul from the penalty spot in the 62nd.

The return leg is at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Friday night, and Ahly will be heavily favoured to wrap up the semifinal on home ground.

Should Ahly prevail, it will come as a sweet victory to Mosimane, who suffered narrow defeats in some epic clashes against Wydad at Sundowns, earning the respect of the Moroccan club and its supporters.

Wydad have arguably been the strongest team in the Champions League in the last four years, reaching the semifinals in 2016, winning in 2017, going out in the quarters in 2018 and achieving runners-up in 2019.

Ahly are desperate for their ninth title, having last won the Champions League seven years ago in 2013 when they beat Orlando Pirates 3-1 on aggregate in the final.

Should they progress to this edition's final Ahly will meet the winners of Raja Casablanca and Zamalek, who contest the first leg of their semifinal in Morocco on Sunday night.

Mosimane has started brightly in the Egyptian league, too, with a 1-0 win against Al Mokawloon and 3-0 victory against ENPPI, before a 0-0 draw with Pyramids.

He is being assisted at Ahly by former Platinum Stars and AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson and former Sundowns fitness trainer Kabelo Rangoaga and performance analyst Musi Matlaba.

The 2019-20 Champions League semifinals have been extended into October because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.