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Preview: Al Ahly vs. Wydad Casablanca - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's CAF Champions League clash between Al Ahly and Wydad Casablanca, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The Stade Mohammed V plays host to the 2021-22 CAF Champions League final on Monday when reigning champions Al Ahly go head to head with two-time winners Wydad AC.

The Rouges et Blancs will head into the game aiming to become the first side to win the title in three successive seasons, while the Moroccan outfit set out to pick up a first continental crown since their 2017 triumph.

Match preview

Al Ahly's Yasser Ibrahim celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 12, 2022© Reuters

Egyptian powerhouse Al Ahly will be delighted to reach a fourth CAF Champions League final in the last five years, having been made to work their socks off in this year's continental showpiece.

After failing to win and score in three of their opening four games, the Red Devils finished runners-up in the group stages, six points off first-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, before scraping a 3-2 aggregate win over Raja Club Athletic in the quarter-finals.

Pitso Mosimane's side then made light work of Algerian outfit ES Setif in the quarter-finals, claiming a 4-0 victory in the first leg on May 7 before holding out for a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Stade 8 Mai 1945 in the return leg seven days later.

Al Ahly, who are the most decorated side in the history of the CAF Champions League with 10 titles, will also look to become the first side to win the competition in three straight seasons after seeing off Zamalek and Kaizer Chiefs in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 finals respectively.

Monterrey's Maximiliano Meza in action with Al Ahly's Ahmed Abdel at the Club World Cup on February 5, 2022© Reuters

Standing in their way is a familiar foe who they have met in three different finals, most recently in 2017 when the Moroccan side claimed a 2-1 victory over two legs to lift the title at Egypt's Borg El Arab Stadium.

However, the most recent encounter between the sides came in October 2020, when the Mosimane's men secured two comfortable victories with a 5-1 aggregate scoreline in the semi-finals of their 2019-2020 title-winning campaign.

The Red Devils, who are currently third in the Egyptian Premier League with four games in hand, head into Monday unbeaten in eight straight games, with 11 of their last 12 across all competitions — with April's 1-0 loss at Al-Masry being the exception.

Wydad, on the other hand, stormed through the group stages, picking up five wins and losing one of their six games to finish top of Group D with a four-point lead over runners-up Atletico Petroleos.

They scraped through the quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth, seeing off Algerian side Belouizdad 1-0 over two legs, before claiming a 4-2 aggregate win over Atletico Petroleos to secure their third final appearance in the last six seasons.

Al Ahly's Mohamed Hany celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 5, 2022© Reuters

Walid Regragui's men are the highest-scoring team in this year's Champions League, netting 20 goals from nine different players — including Guy Mbenza, who is currently the top scorer in the competition with nine goals under his belt.

Wydad head into Monday's game unbeaten in each of their last 16 games across all competitions, picking up 12 wins and four draws since February's 2-0 defeat at the hands of Hassania Agadir in the Botola Pro.

This fine run of results has also seen the Rouges et Blancs strengthen their lead at the top of the Moroccan top flight standings as they now boast a four-point lead over second-placed Raja Club Athletic after 24 rounds of matches.

While the Casablanca-based side brace up for their 11th Champions League meeting with Al Ahly, they have managed just two wins against their Egyptian counterparts, losing four and settling for a share of the spoils on five different occasions.

Al Ahly CAF Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D

Al Ahly form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Wydad Casablanca CAF Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D

Wydad Casablanca form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Team News

Al-Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane reacts on March 12, 2022© Reuters

Al Ahly remain without the services of 24-year-old Akram Tawfik, who has been out of action since suffering a severe injury in Egypt's AFCON group opener against Nigeria back in January.

He is joined on the club's injury table by fellow countryman Amman Handy, who ruptured his cruciate ligament in January's cup clash with Al-Mokawloon.

Mozambican forward Luis Miquissone is also set to sit out his third game on the trot after the 27-year-old came off with a knee problem in the semi-final tie against ES Setif on May 7.

Percy Tau, who currently boasts the best goal-involvement tally in the competition with three goals and five assists to his name, is now on the verge of setting a new competition record, beating Tresor Mputu's nine goal involvements in the 2018-19 campaign.

Meanwhile, Regragui will be unable to call upon Libyan forward Muaid Ellafi, who has been sidelined since picking up a ligament injury in the league tie against FAR Rabat.

Mbenza, who currently sits top of the Botola Pro scoring chart with 12 goals in 23 appearances, has been pivotal in Wydad's title charge and we expect the Royal Antwerp loanee to spearhead the attack once again.

Yahya Jabrane has struck four goals and registered one assist from midfield in nine CAF Champions League outings and the 30-year-old should handle business at the centre of the park alongside Jalal Daoudi and Aymane El Hassouni.

At the defensive end of the pitch, we expect an unchanged back four of Ayoub El Amloud, Achraf Dari, Amine Farhane and Yahia Attiyat Allah, shielding Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti between the sticks.

Al Ahly possible starting lineup:
El-Shenawy; Hany, Ibrahim, Ashraf, Maaloul; El Shahat, Fathi, Dieng; Mohamed, Tau, Abdelkader

Wydad Casablanca possible starting lineup:
Tagnaouti, El Amloud, Dari, Farhane, Allah; Jabrane, Daoudi, El Hassouni; Aouk, El Moutaraji, Mbenza

SM words green background

We say: Al Ahly 1-2 Wydad Casablanca

With the continental crown on the line, we expect a thrilling contest on Monday with both sides taking the game to each other in a bid to come away with the title. With the game being placed on home ground, we are tipping Wydad to ride on the wave of their fans' support and edge out the Egyptians, albeit by a narrow margin.

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