Kaizer Chiefs (0) 0
Al Ahly (0) (3) 10. Sherif 52’, 19. Afsha 64’, 17. El Soulia 75’)
A 10-man Kaizer Chiefs lost 3-0 to defending champions Al Ahly in the final of the CAF Champions League, to bring the Amakhosi’s exciting 2020/2021 African continental campaign to a disappointing close.
Chiefs had held their own in the first half of the final at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca, Morocco, on Saturday evening, but Happy Mashiane’s sending off just before the first half left Chiefs with a mountain to climb in the second half.
Al Ahly made the most of being a man up and scored three goals in the second half, with Mohamed Sherif scoring his sixth goal of the tournament in the 52nd minute, followed by goals from Mohammed Afsha in the 64th minute and Amro El Soulia in the 75th minute.
Chiefs matched the now 10-times African champions pound for pound in the early exchanges, keeping Al Ahly from making inroads, which led to the Egyptians taking their frustrations out with some heavy tackling.
Amakhosi showed they were not in the game to be intimidated and created the first big chance of the game in the 16th minute, when Samir Nurković received the ball on the edge of the 18 yard area and attempted to curl it around Ahly keeper Mohammed El Shenawy, but his shot went straight at the keeper.
Al Ahly began working their way into the game strongly and as the half-way mark of the first half approached, a well worked team move by Ahly culminated with Mohamed Afsha striking the ball just over Daniel Akpeyi’s goal from around 20 yards.
Ahly, unable to break the Chiefs defence down, opted to start going down the flanks in the latter stages of the first half and in the 35th minute, Chiefs keeper Daniel Akpeyi was alert to the danger and smothered a low cross from Ali Malooul.
The Egyptians kept on piling on the pressure and in the 42nd minute some composed defending from Mulomowandau Mathoho saw him climb highest and flick away a dangerous cross from the right by Afsha.
In first half stoppage time Chiefs were reduced to ten men after referee Pacifique Ndabihawenimana was requested by the video assistant referee to have another look at a tackle from Happy Mashiane on Akram Tawfik.
Upon review the initial yellow card for Mashiane’s studs up tackle was changed to a red card and Chiefs were reduced to ten men.
As Mashiane left the field, he lay crestfallen on the side of the pitch as his promising tournament came to a premature and costly end for the team.
The first half ended 0-0.
Chiefs brought on Khama Billiat at halftime for Nkosingiphile Ngcobo to bring some attacking impetus to Chiefs, but the Amakhosi fell behind just seven minutes after the restart when Tawfik’s clinical through ball was played behind the Chiefs defence and set Sherif on his way, as he managed to get to the ball before Daniel Cardoso and lifted the ball over an advancing Akpeyi to put Al Ahly 1-0 ahead.
Al Ahly’s numerical supremacy was beginning to pay dividends and in the 64th minute a long ball over the top by Hussein El Shahat picked out Afsha, after a quick one two first with Ahmed Taher and then Sherif, Afsha slotted a top class curling strike from the edge of the 18 yard area past Akpeyi to make it 2-0.
After going 2-0 behind Chiefs had a number of long range attempts at goal, with Cardoso driving the ball wide in the 68th minute.
Chiefs were unable to hold back Ahly’s offense and in the 75th minute found themselves further behind as El Soulia got on the end of a backheel from El Sherif and hit the ball powerfully past Akpeyi to make it 3-0.
In the end a gallant Amakhosi were unable to compete on an equal footing a man short, and struggled to prevent Al Ahly from winning their 10th CAF Champions League title.
It was a disappointing defeat, but a proud night for the Amakhosi as they participated in their first CAF Champions League final, and found themselves back at the top table of African football.
Chiefs: 1. D. Akpeyi; 4. D. Cardoso, 3. E. Mathoho; 2. R. Mphahlele, 23. R. Frosler, 12. N. Blom (5. Agay 59’), 14. W. Katsande (22. Zulu 76’), 25. B. Parker, 15. N. Ngcobo (11. Billiat 46’), 19. H. Mashiane, 9. S. Nurković (7. Kambole 90 + 2′)
Subs not used: 26. Bvuma; 20. Sasman, 27. Ntiya-Ntiya, 30. Ngezana, 8. Castro
Cautions: 25. Parker 9th minute,
Dismissal: 19. Mashiane 45+1’
Coach: Stuart Baxter
Ahly: 1. M. El Shenawy; 8. H Fathy, 10. M Sheriff (28. Ajay 89’), 12. A Ashraf (6. El Hanafi 46’), 13. B. Benoun, 14. H. El Shahat, 17. A Elsoulia, 19. M. Afsha (9. Mohsen), 21. A. Maaloul, 25. A Tawfik, 27. M. Taher (15. Dieng 67’)
Cautions: 12. Ashraf 21st minute, 27. Taher 50th minute, 13. Benoun 79th minute, 15. Djeng 86th minute, 14. El Shahat 90+1’ minute
Subs not used: 16. A Lotfy, 2. M. Wahid, 7. M. Kharaba, 18. S. Shalabi, 30. M Hany
Coach: Pitso Mosimane