Al Ahly win record-extending 11th CAF Champions League title

Al Ahly of Egypt secured their record-extending 11th CAF Champions League title after a 1-1 draw against Wydad Casablanca of Morocco on Sunday.

JOHANNESBURG – Al Ahly of Egypt secured their record-extending 11th CAF Champions League title after a 1-1 draw against Wydad Casablanca of Morocco on Sunday.

Defender Mohamed Abdelmonem scored the equalizer for the Red Devils, cancelling out Yahia Attiyat Allah’s goal and giving his team a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Al Ahly had previously held a 2-1 lead from the first leg, held seven days ago.

Abdelmonem’s goal was crucial in the victory, as he contributed four goals in the competition, including the decisive one in the final.

Al Ahly showcased their attacking prowess throughout the tournament, scoring a total of 27 goals in 14 matches en route to continental glory.

Wydad Casablanca, the defending champions, failed to secure back-to-back titles against Al Ahly.

The Moroccan side focused on protecting their fragile second-leg lead instead of seeking additional goals, ultimately costing them the trophy.

In African club competitions, away goals count double when the aggregate score is level.

Wydad would have retained the trophy had they won 1-0.

Al Ahly’s triumph earned them a record prize of four million dollars, while their coach, Marcel Koller, became the first Swiss coach to win the prestigious African club competition.

Al Ahly players celebrate their victory in the CAF Champions League on 11 June 2023.
FILE: Al Ahly players celebrate their victory in the CAF Champions League on 11 June 2023.
Al Ahly resurgence and dominance

This victory marked Al Ahly’s third Champions League title in four seasons, following their victories over Zamalek in 2020 and Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa the following year.

The second leg encounter between Al Ahly and Wydad was their 13th meeting in the history of the Champions League, with the Red Devils holding a 5-3 advantage, while four matches ended in draws.

The Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca witnessed a special occasion, with Patrice Motsepe, a South African billionaire and president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), in attendance.

It was also a significant match for referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa from Ethiopia, as it marked his final match before retiring at the age of 42 after 14 years of officiating international fixtures.

However, the match was marred by an unfortunate occurrence common in African football—green lasers being pointed at visiting players to distract them.

Despite this distraction, both teams displayed their skills and determination on the pitch.

Wydad took the lead through an Attiyat Allah free-kick that found its way into the net, eluding Al Ahly’s goalkeeper.

The Egyptian side struggled to find an equalizer before halftime, resulting in yellow cards for Mahmoud Kahraba and Hussein el Shahat, as well as a caution for Bouhra for time-wasting.

The second half witnessed a brief interruption due to smoke from flares limiting visibility on the field.

It was from a set piece that Wydad took the lead, but Al Ahly responded with a corner from Ali Maaloul, allowing Abdelmonem to score a glancing header into the far corner, stunning the crowd.

Despite dominating possession in the second half, Al Ahly failed to seriously threaten Wydad’s goalkeeper before finding the crucial equalizer.

With their victory, Al Ahly showcased their dominance in African club football and solidified their status as one of the continent’s most successful clubs.

RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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