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Egypt’s Al Ahly Win Record 12th African Champions League Title

May 25, 2024

Egyptian giants Al Ahly have secured their record-extending 12th CAF Champions League title, defeating Tunisia’s Esperance 1-0 in the second leg of the final held in Cairo. The first leg in Tunisia had ended in a goalless draw, setting the stage for a decisive match at Al Ahly’s home ground in Egypt.

The only goal of the match came early, just four minutes in, when Esperance midfielder Roger Aholou mistakenly  deflected a header from Al Ahly defender Rami Rabia into his own net. The header was delivered from a corner taken by Hussein El Shahat, giving Al Ahly an early advantage.

Throughout the first half, Al Ahly continued to press for a second goal. Wessam Abou Ali struck the side-netting, and Percy Tau narrowly missed the target. El Shahat was also denied by Esperance’s goalkeeper Amanallah Memmiche. Despite these efforts, Al Ahly went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

Esperance, struggling to break down Al Ahly’s formidable defense, saw their best chance come just after the hour mark when Yan Sasse’s curling shot went off target. As the match progressed, Al Ahly adopted a more defensive approach, allowing Esperance to control possession but failing to create significant scoring opportunities.

In the closing stages, substitute Afsha nearly doubled Al Ahly’s lead with a free-kick that hit the crossbar. Despite six minutes of added time, Al Ahly maintained their slim lead, securing a 1-0 victory on aggregate and their fourth Champions League title in five years.

Al Ahly’s coach, Marcel Koller, celebrated his eighth title in less than two years with the Cairo giants. His team went unbeaten throughout the tournament, matching the feat of their 2005 side, with goalkeeper Mostafa Shobeir keeping nine consecutive clean sheets. The Cairo club also extended their unbeaten run in continental competitions to 22 games.

Both Al Ahly and Esperance had already qualified for the expanded 32-team FIFA Club World Cup, which will be held in the United States next year, alongside Wydad Casablanca and Mamelodi Sundowns.

This latest triumph underscores Al Ahly’s dominance in African football and their resilience in high-stakes matches. The club has now reached five consecutive Champions League finals, setting a new record and solidifying their status as a powerhouse in the sport.

As Al Ahly fans celebrate this historic victory, the team will look ahead to continuing their success in both domestic and international competitions, aiming to add more silverware to their already impressive collection.

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