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It’s Al Ahly vs Wydad in CAF Champions League final

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Al Ahly players celebrate their victory. PHOTO/Ahly
  • Al Ahly beat Esperance 4-0 on aggregate
  • Wydad progressed on the away goal rule after holding Sundowns to 2-2 draw
  • This is a repeat of last year’s final

Al Ahly will face off with Wydad Athletic Club in the final of the CAF Champions League, a repeat of last year’s final. This is after both sides waded through their semi-final fixtures.

Record champions Al Ahly qualified for their fourth consecutive CAF Champions League final after edging out Tunisia’s Esperance 1-0 in Cairo, to qualify 4-0 on aggregate having won last week’s first leg 3-0 in Rades.

Meanwhile, Wydad progressed on the away goal rule after holding favorites Mamelodi Sundowns to a 2-2 draw in Pretoria, having played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Casablanca.

In Cairo, Hussein Elshahat scored the solitary goal for the Egyptian Red Devils in the first half to secure the home victory and progress to their sixth final in seven seasons.

After a conservative start, Ahly broke the deadlock after 21 minutes, and it was the South African wizard Percy Tao who was the chief orchestrator again.

After his brace in the first leg, Tau turned provider this time round, sending Elshahat through on goal with a brilliant defense splitting pass, the latter clipping the ball over the advancing keeper.

Esperance had a chance to respond three minutes on the turn, needing five goals now to turn the tide in their favour. However, Mohamed Ali Ben Hamouda saw his effort on the half volley deflected for a corner.

In the second half, Ahly continued with their conservative approach, choosing to keep possession and frustrating Esperance who were in desperate need of a goal.

Esperance desperately push for a goal

Elshahat scores for Ahly

Elshahat scores for Ahly. PHOTO/Ahly

The Tunisians almost got the leveler in the 71st minute off a counter attack. Ben Hamouda was away on his wheels on the right, capitalizing on the space left by right back Mohamed Hany who had been upfield in attack.

He sliced in a low cross into the area, but Moataz Zaddem blazed his effort over.

In the final minutes of the game, Ahly had some chances to burry off the game. Substitute Ahmed Abdelkader came to the end of a beautiful passage of play by the hosts but couldn’t keep his final shot at goal low.

Mahmoud Kahraba also had a late chance, but his shot was well saved by the keeper.

In Pretoria, Mothobi Mvala scored in his own net in the 83rd minute as he tried to cut off a freekick, an own goal that would prove vital for the Moroccan visitors.

After a goalless first half where Sundowns piled pressure in search of an early goal to calm their nerves, the game burst into life in the second period.

Zwane scores for Downs 

Wydad Athletic Celebrate after their victory

Wydad Athletic Celebrate after their victory. PHOTO/Wydad

Just four minutes after the restart, skipper Themba Zwane broke the deadlock when he capitalized on an error at the back to slot home.

However, the Moroccans gave a fight and they drew level in the 72nd minute when Ayoub El Amloud put the ball in the net, finishing off a pass from Yahya Jebrane.

With a scoring draw, Sundowns knew that their chances would be slim and they now pushed hard for the second goal.

They were rewarded just seven minutes in when their star striker Peter Shalulile slotted home to give them a 2-1 lead. But that joy lasted only for a few minutes, before Wydad went back on level terms.

Despite pressure in the final minutes of the game to try get a winner, Sundowns’ hopes were dashed as the Moroccans defended with everything.

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