The Egyptian football powerhouse showed their class and quality in the second-half with the Soweto giants playing with 10 players
Al Ahly successfully defended their Caf Champions League crown after securing a 3-0 victory over Kaizer Chiefs in the final which took place at Stade Mohamed V in Morocco on Saturday night.
Goals from Mohamed Sherif, Mohamed Magdi Afsha and Amr El Solia inspired the Egyptian giants to a well-deserved win over their South African opponents, who were making their maiden appearance in the final.
Coach Stuart Baxter took charge of Chiefs for the first time after receiving his South African work permit and the experienced British coach opted for Daniel Akpeyi between the sticks.
Akpeyi, who got the nod ahead of Itumeleng Khune and Bruce Bvuma, had played six matches without conceding a single goal in this season’s tournament.
On the other hand, coach Pitso Mosimane surprisingly dropped one of the Red Devils’ best players, Aliou Dieng, to the bench ahead of the biggest match in African club football.
Hamdi Fathi started ahead of the Dieng in midfield as South African tactician Mosimane looked to become the first African coach to win the Caf Champions League title three times.
Chiefs had a decent start to the match – pressing high with their attackers Samir Nurkovic, Happy Mashiane and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo showing good movement in Al Ahly’s half.
The first shot on target of the match went to Amakhosi, but Nurkovic’s curling effort was easily saved by goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, who was well-positioned.
Al Ahly took control of the encounter after the half-hour mark with El Solia seeing a lot of the ball in midfield.
The 32-year-old midfielder played a smart through pass for Ali Maaloul in the left flank, but the Tunisia international’s low cross-come-shot was well-saved by Akpeyi.
Chiefs ended the first half on a bad note as they were reduced to 10 players with Mashiane being shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle on marauding right-back Akram Tawfik following a VAR check.
The score was 0-0 at the interval and Baxter made a change prior to the start of the second half – pulling out Ngcobo and he introduced 2016 Caf Champions League title winner with Mamelodi Sundowns, Khama Billiat.
Tawfik, who was making dangerous overlapping runs, played a defence-splitting pass for Sherif and the tournament’s top scorer scored his sixth goal in the competition to make it 1-0 to Al Ahly in the 53rd minute.
Sherif was involved when Al Ahly went 2-0 up in the 64th minute as he set up Afsha, who then curled the ball into the top left corner – beating one of Nigeria’s top keepers, Akpeyi hands down.
Chiefs were looking disjointed at the back with Sherif tormenting the defence and he grabbed his second assist when his backheel pass was turned home by El Solia to extend Al Ahly’s lead to 3-0 with 17 minutes left.
El Solia’s well-taken goal sealed Al Ahly’s emphatic 3-0 victory on the night with the Cairo giants having taken advantage of their numerical superiority over Chiefs.
The win saw the Red Devils clinch a record-extending 10th Caf Champions League title and they qualify for this year’s Fifa Club World Cup.