Al-Ahly of Egypt strengthened its record with its 11th victory in the African Champions League, after a 1-1 draw with Moroccan Wydad, in the return match in Casablanca.
Al-Ahly stripped its Moroccan rival, Wydad Athletic Club, of its title as CAF Champions League champion, with a 1-1 draw with it in the final round in Casablanca on Sunday, after defeating it 2-1 in Cairo last week.
Wydad took the lead through Yahya Atiyatallah (27), before Mohamed Abdel Moneim equalized for Al-Ahly (78).
Al-Ahly strengthened its record number of continental titles in this competition, raising its tally to 11 titles. He also took revenge for losing last year’s final, which was held in one match at the same stadium and ended with Wydad winning 2-0.
Al-Ahly was just around the corner from exiting the group stage, as the Sudanese player Al-Hilal, Athar Al-Taher, failed to score a penalty kick for his team, in the second minute of calculated time instead of lost, which was enough to give his team victory over Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa (1-1) and oust “Al-Qarn Club”, which took advantage of the situation to seize the qualification ticket behind Sundowns, and proceed to the title, bypassing Moroccan Raja Athletic and Tunisian Esperance in the knockout stages.
As for the Moroccan team, it suffered from a state of technical instability after it started the season under the leadership of coach Hussein Amouta, who led it to the 2017 title, then the Tunisian Mahdi Al-Nafti and the Spaniard Juan Carlos Garrido, all the way to the Belgian Seven Vandenbroek a few days before the semi-finals, and the team topped its group in the first round and knocked out all From Simba the Tanzanian and Mamelodi in the knockout rounds.
The Moroccan team hoped to retain the title, especially as it played in front of its wide fans, but it paid the price of its loss in the first leg, and its title counter in the competition remained at three.
Free kicks were decisive
The match started with a sparring between the two sides, with mutual attacks that did not pose any threat to the goal of the two goalkeepers, Wydadi, who was called up to the Moroccan national team, Youssef Moti’, and Al-Ahly’s “Areen Protector”, returning from injury, veteran Mohamed El-Shennawy.
The owners of the land gained the advantage with the passage of time, especially through the parties with the presence of the two full-backs, Ayoub Al-Amoud and Yahya Atiyatallah, or the veteran wingers, Muhammad Onajim and Saif Al-Din Bohra, which posed a threat to Al-Shennawi’s goal, especially through the Senegalese spearhead, Pauli Sambo, while the Egyptian team retreated. Who started to be affected physically, and nervousness appeared on some of his players, so objections to the Ethiopian referee, Emlak Tesima, multiplied with every whistle.
The Egyptian team’s offensive line, consisting of the South African trio, Percy Tau, Hussein Al-Shahat and Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim “Kahraba”, seemed isolated due to the strong performance of the Wydad midfield, led by international Yahya Gebran, Jalal Al-Daoudi and Ayman Al-Hassouni.
The Moroccan team continued its control with many attempts to penetrate the Egyptian defense, but the free kick weapon was decisive, as Atiyat Allah translated the preference of the owners when he played a similar ball for the third time from a free kick that settled to the right of Al-Shennawi goalkeeper (27).
The reaction of the Egyptian team was delayed when Mohamed Abdel Moneim “Kahraba” hit a powerful ball, but it went far from the goal (41).
The Egyptian team tried to return things to the starting point in the calculated time instead of wasting the first half, and Al-Shahat hit a long ball from outside the penalty area, which was removed by the retreating Ayman Al-Hassouni before it reached the goal of Moti` (45 + 3).
The conditions of the match did not change in the second half, as the Moroccan team continued its advantage in an effort to secure the result, in exchange for attempts by Al-Ahly players to remedy the situation, but they did not penetrate the Moroccan defensive wall.
Swiss Al-Ahly coach Marcel Kohler pushed the duo Ahmed Abdel-Qader and Mohamed Magdy “Afsha” instead of Mohamed Attia and Al-Shahat, in order to activate the offensive side, and Gebran hit a powerful ball from a direct free kick that passed over the goal (65).
The Belgian coach of Wydad, Sven Vandenbroek, included Zuhair Al-Metraji, despite his injury, instead of Bohra, in order to try to seize the match.
The referee stopped the match because of the fog caused by the large Wydad fans after the fiery meteors lit the “sparks”, and Koller took advantage of the pause to involve Amr Al-Souliya and striker Mohamed Al-Sharif, defending all his offensive cards, so the Egyptian team took control in exchange for the Moroccans retreating to the defense, where the Democratic Congolese duo endured Arsene Zola and Amin Farhan The Great Burden.
And Mohamed Abdel Moneim was able to equalize with a header, which he housed in the corner out of the reach of Al-Mutee, taking advantage of a cross from a corner kick sent by Tunisian Ali Maaloul (78).
The match turned again, as Al-Ahly retreated and Wydad advanced to the attack, which intensified, with the participation of Reda Jaadi instead of Ayman Al-Hassouni, and Amin Farhan’s head passed over the goal (81).
The match was stopped again due to a stampede between the players, and Kohler strengthened his defense, as he included Ramy Rabiaa instead of Percy Tau, and the Egyptian team’s rebounds were very dangerous, as Mohamed Sharif completely isolated himself, but he hit a ball in the body of goalkeeper Moti’ (90 + 1).
Wydad’s last attempt was defender Zola’s header, which passed over the goal after a cross from El-Daoudi (90 + 7).