Gabonese-import Fabrice Ondama scored a late winner to help Wydad Athletic Club to a 2-1 win over ASEC Mimosas on Sunday in Rabat and seal their place at the semis together with Zambia’s Zesco United.
Victory for the Casablanca-based club took their tally to 10 points and top spot of Group A, two more than Zesco, who held Egyptian giants Al Ahly to a 2-2 draw last Friday in Suez. Ahly follow in that order with five points and ASEC on four.
With just a game remaining, Wydad and Zesco are certain to finish among the top two irrespective of the outcome of the final day matches in a fortnight, handing both passage into the last four, with the Zambians reaching that far for the first time.
Wydad, winners in 1992, had to sweat to snatch the maximum points at the expense of an ASEC side, who fought tooth and nail coupled with some superb saves from goalkeeper Kouakou Koffi in their quest for at least a point to force the group to the wire.
In the end, it was Ondama, who assisted Abdeladim Khadrouf for the opener netting the winner a minute from time after Yannick Zakri had levelled for the visitors’ midway.
The ‘Rouges et Blancs’ had the luxury of wasting a penalty on 29 minutes after Ondama was fouled by Koffi. The latter made amends by denying Reda Hajhouj from the short distance with a superb save.
Koffi was the reason the scoreline remained deadlocked in the opening half parrying away Ondama’s goal bound header from close range just before the break.
The Ondama-Khadrouf partnership eventually yielded fruits on 59 minutes when Ondama after being put through by Khadrouf dribbled his way past two ASEC defenders before laying to the latter, who slammed home for the opener.
The lead will only last for nine minutes until danger-man Zakri restored parity with a low shot that beat Wydad goalie Zouhair Laaroubi.
Wydad took control in the dying minutes but Koffi stood between them and goal with some eye-popping saves.
Just a minute from time, a long shot from Salaheddine Saidi was spilled by Koffi and Ondama who was lurking around tucked home to cap his man-of-the-match performance with the match winner.
It is the first time Wydad have reached the last four of the premier continental club championship since losing the 2011 final to Tunisia’s Esperance.
The Moroccans will travel to Ndola as guests of Zesco in two weeks for a match that will determine the winner of the group, whilst eight-time winners Ahly will be hosted in Abidjan by ASEC.