In Casablanca on Sunday, Al Ahly, the Egyptian international team, came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Wydad Athletic Club in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League final.
Mohamed Abdelmoneim, representing Al Ahly, scored a remarkable header in the 78th minute, leveling the score and helping his team clinch their record-extending 11th championship title. With a 3-2 aggregate score, Al Ahly emerged as the winners, following their 2-1 victory in the first leg in Cairo last weekend.
Abdelmoneim’s goal came from a well-executed run to the near post, where he flicked in a corner delivered by Ali Maaloul. The ecstatic Al Ahly fans erupted with joy in the stadium. This triumph allowed Al Ahly to heal the wounds from the previous season when they lost the title to the Moroccan giants in a single-legged final at the same venue, with a score of 2-0.
Before Abdelmoneim’s crucial goal, Wydad seemed poised for a 1-0 victory thanks to Yahya Attiat Allah’s goal, which would have been enough for them to retain the title based on the away goal rule. This would have made them the first Moroccan side to win back-to-back titles. However, it was Al Ahly who ultimately left the Stade Mohamed V Complex with smiles on their faces and the trophy in their hands.
The match between these North African rivals was a fiercely contested derby, with few chances but an intense battle, especially in midfield. In the 13th minute, Wydad’s Ayoub El Amloud had a glimpse of goal as he made an impressive run from his right-back position into the box. However, his shot lacked power and was easily saved by Al Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.
Wydad broke the deadlock in the 28th minute when Attiat Allah’s free-kick from the right side curled into the far corner. Mohamed Ounnajem’s run towards the ball caught the entire defense off guard, allowing Wydad to beat Shenawy easily.
The game continued to be characterized by midfield battles, with both teams struggling to create clear-cut chances. In the second half, Al Ahly displayed their attacking intent by making substitutions, bringing in Ahmed Abdelkader and Mohamed Magdy Afsha for Marwan Attia and Hussein Elshahat, who had been closely marked throughout the match.
Al Ahly pushed Wydad back into their own half but found it challenging to break through. However, their persistence paid off 12 minutes before the end of regular time when Maaloul delivered an exceptional cross that was flicked in by Abdelmoneim.
In added time, Al Ahly had an opportunity to double their lead when Abdelkader won the ball behind the defense. However, from a difficult angle, he couldn’t beat Wydad goalkeeper Youssef El Motie, who made an impressive double save.
Despite Wydad’s pressure, with nerve-wracking set-pieces and drop balls, Al Ahly managed to hold on to the result and reclaim their title.