Kaizer Chiefs hold on to advance into CAFCL final

Kaizer Chiefs held Wydad Casablanca to a 0-0 draw at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday evening, thereby securing a place in the final of the CAF Champions League for the first time in the club’s history.

The Amakhosi won the tie 1-0 on aggregate and will face either reigning African champions Al Ahly or Esperance de Tunis in the final on July 17. The South African giants had to rely on a solid defensive performance, fine goalkeeping from Daniel Akpeyi and a lack of cutting edge from their opponents, but their endeavour and determination more than merits a place in the continental showpiece.

Wydad created most of the attacking pressure in the opening quarter hour, though the first clear chance came from a Chiefs set-piece: a corner kick in the third minute picked out Samir Nurkovic, but the Serbian striker directed his shot wide of the near post.

The Moroccan team forced a couple of straightforward stops from goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, but the Nigerian was truly stretched in the 20th minute, producing an excellent one-handed save to turn away a long-range strike from Aymane El Hassouni which looked destined for the top corner.

On 31 minutes WAC had another chance on goal which saw Ayoub El Kaabi with a snap shot from a cross which deflected into his path, but the effort went straight at the well-positioned Amakhosi ‘keeper.

Eleven minutes later Wydad’s El Kaabi completely ‘fresh aired’ a glorious chance at close range from a flicked-on corner kick – the last chance of a goalless first half which left Chiefs still in control of the tie.

Wydad opted for a change at the start of the second half, with drawing Tanzanian attacker Simon Msuva in favour of Libyan midfielder Muaid Ellafi. The latter teed up the next clear chance, whipping in a great cross in the 59th minute, but an unmarked Walid El Karti headed over the top.

On 62 minutes Chiefs almost killed off the tie with a goal from Nurkovic, but his headed effort toward the top corner was tipped away by Wydad goalkeeper Ahmed Tagnaouti in his first major involvement of the game.

The visiting team continued to spurn good attacking opportunities through to the end of the game, though Chiefs deserve enormous credit for their defensive organisation and resilience – characteristics which were sorely lacking in their domestic campaign but have been key to their success in this semifinal.

Their opponents in the final will be determined by the second-leg clash between Al Ahly and Esperance de Tunis in Cairo later on Saturday evening. The Egyptian hosts hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

Kaizer Chiefs 0

Wydad Casablanca 0

Kaizer Chiefs won 1-0 on aggregate

Chiefs: Akpeyi, Ngezana, Mathoho, Cardoso, Frosler (Baccus 85’), Katsande, Blom, Sasman (Mphahlele 78’), Ngcobo, Parker, Nurkovic

Wydad: Tagnaouti, El Amloud, Dari, Jabrane, Farhane, Attiyat Allah, El Hassouni (Skouma 70’), Ounajem, El Karti, El Kaabi, Msuva (Ellafi 46’)