Wydad Casablanca reach the Champions League group stage

Congo striker Fabrice Nguessi
Congo striker Fabrice Nguessi cried with joy after giving Wydad a late lead

Moroccans Wydad Casablanca became the final team to reach the last eight of the African Champions League when beating Simba of Tanzania 3-0 in Cairo.

The clash was a one-off tie in neutral Egypt to decide who would go through after TP Mazembe's disqualification.

The DR Congo club, who have won the last two titles, were expelled for fielding an ineligible player.

Late strikes from Fabrice Nguessi, Ayoub El Khaliqi and Mouhcine Lajour earned Wydad's passage into Group B.

That group will now be an all-North African affair with Wydad joining Al Ahly of Egypt, Tunisia's Esperance and Algeria's MC Algers.

With the game almost set for a stalemate despite heavy Wydad pressure, Congo striker Nguessi finally found the back of the net just three minutes from time.

Remarkably, there was still time left for two more goals as both El Khaliqi and Lajour netted in injury time to seal victory.

Wydad were knocked out of the tournament by Mazembe in the third round, only to be reprieved after the reigning champions' shock disqualification.

That was after vanquished second round opponents Simba successfully claimed that Mazembe had fielded an ineligible player when using Janvier Bokungu.

Winners of the competition in 1992, Wydad will participate in the group phase for the first time - kicking off proceedings when facing Al Ahly in Cairo on 15-17 July.

There is the possibility of an all Casablanca final, with city rivals Raja up against Coton Sport of Cameroon, Nigerians Enyimba and Sudan's Al Hilal in Group A.

The group stages of the Champions League begin in mid-July, with the final round of matches taking place in September.

Meanwhile, Simba now drop into the Confederation Cup.

They will take on Mazembe's compatriots DC Motema Pembe next month for a place in the group stage of African club football's second tier competition.

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