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Al Ahly Lift African Champions League Title

Al Ahly of Egypt were crowned 2019/2020 African Champions League winners after securing a 2-1 win over Cairo rivals’ Zamalek on Friday night.

Al Ahly of Egypt were crowned 2019/2020 African Champions League winners after securing a 2-1 win over Cairo rivals’ Zamalek on Friday night.

Amr El-Sulaya nodded home from a corner as early as the fifth minute but Mahmoud Shikabala levelled the score after a sublime solo effort on 31 minutes. Mohamed Magdy scored the winner in the final four minutes to extend Al Ahly’s record number of wins in Africa’s elite club competition to nine.

The first sight to the breakthrough went to the visitors two minutes after the start with Marwan Mohsen steering a threaded ball from Mohamed Hani narrowly wide.

Al Ahly grabbed the lead four minutes later when El-Suraya got behind Zamalek’s defence o head home a well taken corner from Ali Maaloul.

Mostafa Mohamed almost clawed the away side level from a header off a corner-kick just in the 25minutes period, but the resultant attempt skimmed wide of Mohamed El-Shennawi’s goal.

Zamalek weren’t done asking questions of their counterparts two minutes to the half-hour mark with Ahmed Zizo’s pin-point header bringing El-Shenanwi to sharp reflexes.

The White Knights scored an equalizer on 31 minute when Shikabala collected the ball out wide on the right, skipped past three defenders before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the goal from the edge of the box.

Al Ahly went close to extending their lead after half-time from a rasping strike from Hussein El-Shahat, but Mohamed Abou-Gabal tipped around the post.

Zamalek were denied by the post after Zizo evaded Al Ahly’s to fire in a shot which cracked the frame of the goal after on 65minutes.

Zizo went close to continuing his fine form as he headed on target from a corner on 75 minutes, but Al Ahly’s shot-stopper El-Shannawi smothered his countryman with a great save.

The White Knights missed another chance to go in front when Ahmed Eid fired wide from distance on the 80th minute.

However, Al Ahly doubled their lead in the 86 minutes through a solid finish from Mohamed Magdy, who rifled the ball into the bottom corner with a strike from around 20 yards out.

After the match, Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane admitted his team wasn’t at their best though they managed to squeeze the win from their Egyptian rivals Zamalek.

“I came here to win the African trophy but it was a very tough one. As we always say, finals are won not played,” said the South African gaffer.

“I have to say Zamalek coach made it very hard for us in the first half because he prevented us from playing our normal game,” he added.

“I made some changes in my tactics in the second half and asked the players to press Zamalek players more and more as I saw they were getting tired and losing form.

“We needed to press their midfield and that’s what gave us the second goal.”

How they lined up:

Zamalek: Mohamed Abo Gabal, Ahmed Eid, Mohamed Abdelghani, Mahmoud Alaa, Islam Gaber (El Said 90’+2), Tarek Hamed, Ferjani Sassi, Mahmoud Shikabala (Kasonga 55′), Achraf Bencharki, Ahmed Sayed Zizo, Mostafa Mohamed.

Al Ahly: Mohamed El Shenawy, Mohamed Hani, Ayman Ashraf, Yassser Ibrahim, Ali Maaloul, Hamdy Fathi, Amr El Solaya, Mohamed Magdi Afsha (Rabia 90’+1), Junior Ajayi (Geraldo 67′), Hussein El Shahat, Marwan Mohsen (Kahraba 90’+2).

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