AmaZulu’s Caf Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after Raja Casablanca loss

AmaZulu’s Caf Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after Raja Casablanca came away from the Moses Mabhida Stadium with a 2-0 victory on Friday evening.

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Benni McCarthy’s side had an opportunity to go level with the Group B leaders on nine points, but an early goal from Hamid Ahadad put them on the back foot before Ilias Haddad sealed the win in the second half.

Usuthu now trail the Green Eagles by six points going into the final game of the group stages and will need to beat Horoya in Guinea to stand a chance of reaching the quarterfinals.

The KZN outfit were looking to put Raja under early pressure in front of the watching supporters, but instead it was the visitors who got off to a flying start.

Ahadad received the ball from Mohsine Moutouali inside the area on the right and beat Veli Mothwa with an audacious dink to break the deadlock on six minutes.

The hosts looked to respond as Keagan Buchanan released Augustine Mulenga through on goal with a quickly taken free-kick in the 14th minute, but Marouane Fakhr turned his shot behind for a corner.

Thabo Qalinge failed to hit the target with a left-footed strike from inside the box that he dragged past the right post on 20 minutes, while back up at the other end Marouane Hadhoudi blasted an effort over the crossbar two minutes later after connecting with Moutouali’s cross.

Moutouali then drew a routine save out of Mothwa with a shot from range on 33 minutes, before Fakhr was called into action again on 36 minutes to keep out Bonginkosi Ntuli’s header from Buchanan’s cross.

The final action of the first half saw Sandile Khumalo direct a header just over the goal from a 41st-minute corner as Raja took their slender lead into the break.

AmaZulu struggled to get going in the second half as the Moroccan club did a good job of containing them. Mothwa made two saves in the space of two minutes to deny Ahadad and Moutouali.

But he was beaten again moments later as a mix-up at the back allowed Haddad to double the Casablancans’ advantage from a 76th-minute corner.

Thembela Sikhakhane wasted a great chance to halve the deficit six minutes from time when he headed a free-kick wide of the right post from close range and Ntuli forced Fakhr into a save in stoppage time after connecting with Sphesihle Maduna’s cross.

AmaZulu (0) 0
Raja Casablanca (1) 2 (Ahadad 6′, Haddad 76′)

AMAZULU: V. Mothwa, M. Gumede, S. Khumalo (P. Ekstein 67′), T. Xoki, R. Malepe, M. Makhaula, K. Buchanan (S. Maduna 67′), T. Sikhakhane, L. Memela (A. Majok 82′), T. Qalinge, A. Mulenga (B. Ntuli 33′).

RAJA CASABLANCA: M. Fakhr, M. Nahiri (A. Chaboud 80′), I. Haddad, M. Hadhoudi, A. Jbira (O. Soukhane 80′), F. Ngoma, M. Azrida, M. Moutouali, J. Harkass, B. Boulhroud (M. Al Makahasi 59′), H. Ahadad.

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