Al Ahly Overpower Kaizer Chiefs to Clinch Tenth Champions League Title
As expected, Al Ahly have reconfirmed their status as knights of African club football after overpowering Kaizer Chiefs in the 2020-2021 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League (CL) final on Saturday night in Moroccan city Casablanca.
All seemed well in the first half as both sides played cautiously and kept close guard on defense.
Something sinister however befell the Amakhosi in half-time stoppage time when Happy Mashiane’s excessive tackle victimised Akram Tafik.
After a VAR review, Burundian referee Pacfique Ndabihawenimana sent off Mashiane. A sad ending for the 23-year-old leftback’s CL debut. The incident marked the beginning of coach Stuart Baxter’s woes.
Though zero-zero at the break, Chiefs went into the tunnel worried as numerically disadvantage stared into their faces.
Fresh from the dressing rooms, tournament’s top scorer Mohamed Sherif (6 goals) opened scores at the 52nd minute.
Twelve minutes later, Mohamed Magdi Afsha made it two nil with a cool finish.
Not long after, Sherif’s backheel pass found Amr Solia who capped it three nil for the Red Devils.
It is the second consecutive CAF CL title for the Egyptian giants, ten overall.
Ahly hold four CAF club competition records with the most overall (21), CL (9), Super Cup (7), Confederation Cup (1), and African Cup Winners Cup (4) titles.
The Red Devils reached the final after eliminating Mamelodi Sundowns and Esperance at the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.
A glorious night indeed for former African Coach of the Year Pitso Mosimane who now counts three CL trophies in his cabinet. Two of those with the Cairo club, then the other with his former club Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016.
The 56-year-old becomes the second most successful coach in CAF CL history behind Portuguese gaffer Manuel Jose (4) who also won with Al Ahly.
Kaizer Chiefs to Wait Longer
Kaizer Chiefs are obliged to wait some more time after losing in the final against Al Ahly.
Victory against the club of the Century would have endorsed them as the third South African team to win the CAF CL after Orlando Pirates in 1995 and Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016.
After knocking out Tanzanian club Simba at the quarterfinals, Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the semifinal, Chiefs became the first team to reach the final in their debut season since AS Vita Club in 2014.
It was a long Saturday night for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Encouraging the Amakhosi ahead of the final, Ramaphosa said on twitter, “…As we rebuild after a challenging week, we must pause to wish Kaizer Chiefs well ahead of their encounter against Al Ahly. Unity must be the fruit of success on the field…”
The encounter which had no fans in attendance for Covid-19 reasons was presided at by new CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe.