African Champions League: Wydad Casablanca boss wary of Petro Atletico challenge

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Wydad Casablanca coach Walid RegraguiWydad Casablanca coach Walid Regragui won 44 caps for Morocco during his playing days

Wydad Casablanca coach Walid Regragui has warned his squad to be wary of Petro Atletico in the first leg of their African Champions League semi-final tie on Saturday.

Angolan outfit Petro have reached the last four for the first time since 2001 and are now targeting their first ever appearance in the final.

Two-time winners Wydad were knocked out at this stage by Al Ahly in 2019-20 and Kaizer Chiefs last season.

"When you have a team who want to make history it is a difficult game," Regragui said.

"For me, after they won against Mamelodi Sundowns (in the last eight) and got a draw with Zamalek, Petro are one of the favourites to win the Champions League."

The two sides have already met twice in this year's competition in the group stage.

Petro won 2-1 in Luanda but were thrashed 5-1 in Casablanca in the final round of matches, after both teams had already qualified for the knock-out stages.

"Now it's a different game to the group stage as it is a semi-final and a different feeling," Regragui added.

"We will stay focused because I know, with their fans, it is a tough game. After we will have our chance at home."

Mamelodi Sundowns' Thapelo Morena (left) vies for the ball with Petro Atletico's Augusto CarneiroPetro Atletico beat Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, following a 1-1 draw in the second leg in South Africa

Petro boss Alexandre Santos is aware of the weight of the occasion, but is eager for his side to embrace their opportunity when the sides meet on Saturday (13:00 GMT).

"I have a very young squad with players who have never experienced this stage of the competition," he told BBC Sport Africa.

"Personally, it is the first time I have reached the semi-final and to reach the final would be like a cherry on top of the cake.

"It is a special feeling as reaching this stage is history for us. But the players have ambition and want to do a bit more and reach the final, and maybe win it. I want to follow them in their ambition."

In the other semi-final, record 10-time Champions League winners Al Ahly of Egypt are looking to move a step closer to an unprecedented third successive triumph.

Pitso Mosimane's men lost twice in the group stage, but the Cairo giants have won 11 of their 12 semi-final ties in the competition - with their only last-four exit coming at the hands of Tunisia's Esperance in 2010.

Ahly host Algeria's Entente Setif, who are two-time champions, in the first leg of their clash on Saturday (19:00 GMT).

The return ties will be held next Friday (Wydad v Petro) and Saturday (Setif v Ahly), while a venue for the single-legged final at the end of May is yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, the first legs of the two semi-finals in the Caf Confederation Cup will be played on Sunday.

DR Congo's TP Mazembe host Renaissance Berkane of Morocco, while Libyans Al Ahly Tripoli host South African side Orlando Pirates.

Pirates were victorious in their only previous Confederation Cup semi-final appearance, beating Egypt's Al Ahly en route to lifting the trophy in 1996.

TP Mazembe have won the continent's second-tier tournament twice before, in 2016 and 2017, while Renaissance Berkane triumphed two years ago.

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