Hilal grab African Champions League semis spot

Al Hilal players
Al Hilal players celebrate their progress in the Champions League

Sudanese club Al Hilal secured the last African Champions League semi-finals place on Sunday by forcing a 0-0 draw at Raja Casablanca of Morocco.

The point lifted them one place in Group A to second ahead of Coton Sport Garoua of Cameroon.

Raja finished bottom of the table with three points.

Coton Sport conceded a goal late in each half to lose 2-0 at table toppers Enyimba of Nigeria.

Ifeanyi Ede put the Nigerians ahead on 45 minutes in south-eastern city Aba.

Valentine Nwabaelli sealed the fate of 2008 runners-up Coton Sport with a second goal five minutes from full-time.

Former champions Enyimba, one of just three clubs to successfully defend the title since its 1964 inception, finished with 14 points, Hilal eight, Coton Sport seven and three-time champions Raja three after failing to win in six outings.

Enyimba will play Wydad Casablanca in the semi-finals while Hilal take on Group B winners and title favourites Esperance of Tunisia.

The semi-finals are slated for the end of September as the clubs hunt a US$1.5m first prize and entry to the year-end Fifa Club World Cup.

Enyimba won the premier Confederation of African Football club competition in 2003 and 2004, Esperance lifted the trophy in 1994, Wydad conquered the continent in 1992 and Hilal came closest in 1987 and 1992 by finishing runners-up.

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