Coach Ramzi praises Wydad players after Esperance win but warns job not done

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Wydad Casablanca coach Adel Ramzi praised his players after their 1-0 African Football League (AFL) semi-final first leg win over Esperance but warned the tie remains in the balance.

Hicham Bousfiane’s second half strike earned Wydad a narrow advantage to defend in Wednesday’s return match in Tunisia.

But Ramzi says his side cannot afford to be complacent with a place in the inaugural AFL final at stake.

“Praise be to God, we scored a positive result and controlled the match for 90 minutes,” Ramzi told BBC Sport Africa after the game.

“We created some chances and Esperance also had opportunities – that’s football. The important thing is they didn’t score at home.”

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Wydad dominated Sunday’s clash at Stade Mohamed V, albeit without killing off their stubborn opponents.

And Ramzi acknowledged his team’s efficiency must improve in the second leg to finish the job.

“I’m still looking for things that must improve further, especially regarding effectiveness,” he admitted.

The Moroccan coach was keen to thank his players for executing the gameplan in a high stakes encounter between the bitter rivals.

“The players are very grateful. Now they must recover and rest,” Ramzi added.

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With the tie hanging in the balance, the Wydad boss knows a stormy reception awaits his side in Tunisia.

“The semi-final has 180 minutes and the return match is in Tunisia where we’ll complete the mission,” he stated.

By praising his squad but challenging them to raise their levels again, Ramzi has set the tone for Wydad to progress.

After seizing a slender first leg lead, the three-time African champions still have everything to play for as they bid for African Football League  glory.

-CAF

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