A sensational late goal by Mohamed Magdy brought Al Ahly the victory over Cairo’s rival Zamalek in the first one-legged final of the African Champions League.
Magdy’s winner in the 88. Minute ended an entertaining game in which his team Amr El Soleya had played through early, only that Shikabala was able to cancel this before halftime with a world-class appearance of his own.
Ahly should have taken the lead after Elshahat hit the post with a completely empty net at the beginning of the second half.
The win earned them a record-breaking ninth crown in the African Champions League and also means that their boss, South African Pitso Mosimane, is only the third coach to win the title with two different clubs.
The 2020 edition of the competition had been delayed due to Covid-19, and measures to combat the virus resulted in the first African Champions League final, played between two teams from the same country, to be held behind closed doors.
One can only imagine what the atmosphere at the Cairo International Stadium would have been like if the fans had admitted, but nonetheless, those who were watching in the city – and indeed the continent – enjoyed a fantastic game That contradicted the tense nature of most grand finals.
They took the initiative from the start and won a corner after just four minutes thanks to a strong run and a shot from winger Hussein Ali Elsha.
Zamalek got rocked and it took them a while to get back in the game. It wasn’t until about 20 minutes that they looked threatening and tested Al Ahly.
But gradually they took on more and more promising positions. And then, in the 31st. Minute, their captain Shikabala produced something very special to bring them to a level.
The veteran midfielder came into play on the right, making a breathless twist to take out two Ahly defenders in one movement before shooting past Ahly’s goalkeeper Mohamed Elshanawy with his left foot from outside the area.
The game continued to wane after Shikabala’s goal and neither side were afraid of taking quick pauses and shots from outside the box that varied between speculative and spectacular.
Ahly, however, would have in 53. They had to take the lead again when a brilliant ball, defeating all Zamalek defenders and goalkeeper Gabal Ali, was played against Elshahat.
Elshahat had an empty net that he could aim at from almost square to the right post. But with almost too much time to think about it, he only managed to get that post.
Both sides were looking for a winner and used the pace of their wingers – Zizo for Zamalek and Magdy for Ahly – to come closer.
But the game seemed to go into overtime when Magdy was played on the left some distance from the Zamalek area.
In one fluid movement he controlled the ball with his knee, flicked it up and then smashed it over Gabal Ali and past him.
It was a really first rate performance – and the Ahly players celebrated for all they were worth. They knew at that moment that they were African masters.
Al Ahly SC, CAF Champions League, Zamalek SC, Pitso Mosimane, Egyptian Premier League, Mamelodi Sundowns F. . C.. . , Confederation of African Football
World news – GB – African Champions League: Al Ahly defeated Zamalek in the final across Egypt
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