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Al Ahly beat Zamalek to claim ninth Champions League crown

Al Ahly beat Zamalek to claim ninth Champions League crown

Mohamed Madgy Afsha scored a beauty of a goal with four minutes left on the clock as Al Ahly beat Zamalek 2-1 at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday to clinch a record extending ninth Total CAF Champions League title.

The Cairo Derby, the first time a final was being decided by teams from the same country, looked to be headed for a draw before Magdy scored a beauty to hand the Red Devils the coveted piece of silverware.

Head coach Pitso Mosimane who joined the team less than three months ago won his second Champions League title, coincidentally against the same side he beat to clinch his first crown in 2016 when he was at Mamelodi Sundowns.

Ahly also kept their track of not being beaten by their eternal rivals in the CAF Champions League, picking their sixth win in nine matches.

Ahly had the perfect start, Elsoulia breaking the deadlock after six minutes. The midfielder sneaked in behind the defence to nod in a header from Ali Maaloul’s corner to give The Red Devils the lead.

The record champions were rewarded for a bright start and the corner had been borne after Hussein Elshahat had forced the keeper to a save from his near post on the right.

But despite going down, Zamalek forced Ahly to play in their half as they sought an equalizer to get back into contention.

They had the chances, with Shikabala having a shot from range saved while Achraf Bencharki had a grass cutter go just wide.

But they went level terms in the most sublime of fashions, Shikabala taking on a superb solo effort. The experienced striker picked the ball from a throw-in on the right, drifted to his favourite left foot before unleashing a belter that left Mohamed Elshenawy dazed.

The White Knights kept the pressure, but couldn’t convert their possession to any additional goal as the two Egyptian giants went to the break on level terms.

In the second half, the stakes were raised as each team increased the tempo.

Ahly had the best chance of the opening minutes of the second period but top scorer Elshahat missed a sitter, hitting the upright from five yards out after a beautiful cutback from Maaloul found him with a gaping goalmouth.

On the other end in the 65th minute, Zamalek also struck the upright with Ahmed ‘Zizo’ Mostafa seeing his effort go cracking on the woodwork after setting himself up with a beautiful first touch and launching a rocket with the second.

The see-saw continued to swing in both ways as possession was balanced, but Ahly tilted the scales to their favour in the last quarter of an hour. The pressure was rewarding as Magdy scored the winner with four minutes left, another worldie from range.

The forward controlled the ball with his thigh to get off his marker before rolling a volley that landed on the keeper’s left.

After the victory, Pitso Mosimane said: “It’s an unbelievable and an amazing feeling. Not everyone can win the Champions League. It was a difficult match. We played a very good team. Beautiful goals from the three scorers of the game. I must thank everyone who took part in this success; the players, the technical team, the president of the club, everyone.

“The new season start this weekend, we don’t even have a time for a break. Of course, we enjoy the moment, but we have to start preparing for the CAF Super Cup and Egyptian Cup.”

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