Defending champions Wydad Athletic Club inched closer to the quarter-finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League after beating Petro de Luanda 2-0 in Angola on Saturday.
Second-half goals from Arsene Zola and Bouly Junior Sambou gave Wydad the victory, and a second consecutive for returning coach Juan Carlos Garrido.
With the win, the holders top Group A with nine points, five ahead of third placed Petro and will only need a point in their next match to affirm a place in the last eight.
They completed a home and away sweep over Petro, showing resurgence after a slow start to the group phase.
Home side Petro were more adventurous in an opening half that didn’t bear goals. They had some chances, with the best being in the 37th minute. Anderson Cruz struck a shot from distance which the keeper saved, with Tiago Azulao following up on the rebound but it was blocked against the crossbar by a defender.
At the stroke of halftime, Gilberto sneaked on the blindside of a defender to head a cross goalward, but it couldn’t hit the target.
In the second half, Zola gave Wydad the lead after 59th minutes when the goalkeeper failed to comfortably clear out a corner and the Congolese defender managed to guide the ball home from close range.
The home side, rattled by the goal, picked up the tempo and tried to get themselves back into the game. In the 80th minute, they were denied by the crossbar when Gleison’s freekick curled over the wall but couldn’t dip under the woodwork.
Eight minutes on the other end, Wydad also hit the crossbar, this time Saifeddine Bouhrati picking a drive from range.
But, two minutes later, Wydad delivered the sucker punch, Bouhrati delivering the cross that Sambou gladly scored with off a bouncing header.
Petro’s chances of qualification are now slim and now have to win away to second placed JS Kabylie next weekend to have any realistic hopes.