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CAF Champions League

Al Ahly Hammer Chiefs After Red Card

Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly remain African Champions after winning the 2021 CAF Champions League final, comfortably beating ten man Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Saturday night.

It was the first meeting between the two clubs in almost two decades, with their only previous clash having been in the 2002 African Super Cup, where the Egyptians came out 4-1 winners.

While many had predicted Chiefs to sit back and defend, it was a relatively positive start to the game from the South Africans, who had coach Stuart Baxter on the bench for the first time, and it was an open start to the game as Chiefs stood toe-to-toe against their favoured opponents.

The first shot on target came in the 16th minute, and it came from the boot of Samir Nurkovic, but his curling effort from outside the area was straight at Mohamed El-Shennawy. Four minutes later Hussein El-Shahat tried to shoot from outside the box, but he skied his attempt.

Mohamed Magdy Afsha had a half chance from just inside the area in the 24th minute, but it was off target and never threatened Daniel Akpeyi’s goal, nor did Amr El-Sulya’s effort in the 33rd minute that flew over.

Akpeyi was needed in the 35th minute, as he got down well to stop Badr Banoun’s low cross from a dangerous area, though he didn’t need to move for Afsha’s wayward shot three minutes later.

Pitso Mosimane’s defending champions began to control the possession as the half drew on, and just before half time things swung in Al Ahly’s favour when Happy Mashiane was shown a red card after a VAR check showed his tackle on Akram Tawfik was dangerous. At the break it remained goalless, but Chiefs were down to ten.

As expected with Chiefs down a man, Al Ahly were in control as the second half started, El-Shahat having a chance in the 48th minute, but it was deflected behind, while Afsha’s chance three minutes later was off target.

And the Egyptians broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute as Mohamed Sherif made a great run into the box, collecting a lovely through ball from Tawfik and chipped over Akpeyi, who conceded his first goal in the tournament this season.

It was 2-0 in the 64th minute as Afsha scored a cracker, after some good build up play between the goalscorer,Taher Mohamed Taher and Sherif.

Daniel Cardoso had a half chance for Chiefs in the 67th minute, but his shot miscued off his boot and went high and wide.

But with Chiefs pressing to find a way back in the game, there was a lot of space for the Al Ahly to utilise, and it was 3-0 in the 73rd minute, as Ahly hit Chiefs on the counter, Amr El-Sulya finishing it off with aplomb, leaving Akpeyi with no chance.

In the end it brought the curtains down on Chiefs’ historic run in the CAFCL, and while the ended runners-up, it will remain a memorable season for the Amakhosi.

It is the tenth CAF Champions League win for the Egyptian giants, while Mosimane lifts his third, having won the competition previously with Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016, and Ahly last year.