Preview: Hearts continue the quest for another Champions League glory against WAC

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Reigning Ghana Premier League (GPL) Champions Accra Hearts of Oak will face off against Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco as they target a place in the group stages in the 2021/22 TotalEnergies Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.

Berekum Chelsea was the last Ghanaian club to make it to the group stages in 2012 and the Phobians would be looking to make the group stages berth as they target another continental glory having won their first in 2000.

Wydad AC who are the most successful club side in Morocco won last season’s Botola Pro League and would be looking to make the group stages for the seventh successive time.

Hearts would be looking to get a positive result in the first leg encounter at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday against the 2017 winners of the CAF Champions League with the reverse fixture scheduled for next week.

The Phobians breezed past C.I Kasmar from Guinea 2-0 in a one-off encounter at the Accra Sports Stadium last month while the 2020/21 CAF Champions League semi-finalist waved a bye in the preliminary round.

Team News
Hearts are expected to have goalkeeper Richard Attah between the sticks come Sunday after his call-up to the national team despite not featuring for the Black Stars.

There are no major injury concerns for the Phobians as coach Samuel Boadu is expected to have the full complement of his team come Sunday.

Wydad AC coach Walid Regragui has been dealt a huge blow with the absence of playmaker Reda Jaadi who sustained an injury with the national team but will be likely available for the
return fixture.

Congolese top marksman for the Moroccan side Guy Carel Mbenza Kamboleke is unlikely to make the trip to Accra likewise Jalai Daoudi who has been ruled out of Sunday’s clash.

Players to Watch
Wydad AC
Moroccan attacker Zouheir El-Moutaraiji is certainly the danger man for the Wydad AC having had a splendid start to the season scoring two goals from five matches.

The 25-year-old winger has been a key player in Walid Regragui’s setup and Hearts Fatawu Mohammmed faces a very tricky winger who is very prolific with his deliveries.

Tanzania striker Simon Happygod Msuva who would lead the line for the Moroccan side come Sunday is ruthless infront goal for both club and country.

He has scored three goals from six matches in the ongoing World Cup qualifiers for Tanzania and scored seven times for Wydad AC in last year’s title-winning campaign amid the injuries.

Hearts
The Phobians would certainly have to be prolific in front of goal if they stand any chance of progressing to the group stages.

Kofi Kordzi who scored the decisive opening goal for the Phobians in their last encounter faces a stern task against the impressive Moroccan defense who just conceded two goals from five matches this season.

Afriyie Barnieh who had an impressive 2020/21 Ghana Premier League title would be the tormentor in chief for the Phobians on the flanks.

Kick-off Time: 15:00 GMT (Sunday)

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