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Azaro hat-trick sees Al Ahly into Champions League final

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Azaro hat-trick sees Al Ahly into Champions League final

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ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) – Walid Azaro scored a hat-trick as Egypt’s Al Ahly beat Tunisia’s Etoile Sahel 6-2 in the return clash of their African Champions League semifinal on Sunday to move a step closer to a record ninth continental title. The Cairo giants, 2-1 behind after the first leg and forced to play in Alexandria in front of a restricted crowd because of security concerns, emphatically overturned the deficit to earn a place against Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the two-leg final. Azaro’s treble, Ali Maaloul, who opened the scoring after just two minutes, a goal from Rami Rabia and an own goal by Etoile’s Hamdi Nagguez ensured that Al Ahly surged to a 7-4 aggregate success. The visitors managed consolation goals through Rami Bedoui and Ihab Msakni but were thoroughly outplayed despite taking their one-goal lead into the match after the first leg in Sousse earlier this month. Achraf Bencharki scored twice as Wydad booked their place in the final with a 3-1 home win over USM Alger on Saturday after a goalless first leg. Walid El Kharti had put Wydad ahead in the first half and Bencharki added a second soon after the break but Wydad then had Amine Atouchi dismissed for a two booking. Ayoub Abdellaoui reduced the deficit for the Algerian club, to make for an uncomfortable final 20 minutes for Wydad. Yet Bencharki made sure of their progress with a stoppage- time goal. Wydad last won African football’s top club prize 25 years ago. The first leg of the final will be in Egypt this weekend with the return in Casablanca on November 4 or 5. Final details and kick off times will be decided this week by the Confederation of African Football.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ian Chadband)
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