In a stunning upset, Algerian side USM Alger secured a historic 1-0 victory over Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the CAF Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia on Friday night, thanks to a first-half penalty from captain Zinedine Belaid.
The penalty, calmly converted by Belaid just before half-time after VAR consultation for handball, proved to be the decisive moment in a tense clash dominated by Al Ahly. Despite the Egyptian giants’ lion’s share of possession and chances, USM Alger displayed incredible resilience and solid defensive play to maintain their slender lead.
Al Ahly, seeking a record-extending ninth Super Cup crown, thought they had equalized early on when Hussein El Shahat’s shot was spilled by USM Alger’s inspired goalkeeper Oussama Benbot straight into the path of Walter Bwalya, but it was ruled out for offside.
The second half followed a similar pattern, with Al Ahly relentlessly pressing for an equalizer. However, USM Alger’s defense held firm. In a heart-stopping finale, Ali Maaloul missed a golden chance for Al Ahly, and Taher Mohamed Taher’s header was tipped over by the outstanding Oussama Benbot.
USM Alger’s victory avenges their defeat by Al Ahly in the same final two years ago and underscores the progress made under coach Abdelhak Benchikha.
For Al Ahly, this loss ends their hopes of completing a sweep of trophies this season, despite already claiming the Egyptian league and CAF Champions League titles. Coach Marcel Koller’s team will likely feel aggrieved not to have secured at least an equalizer based on their performance in the match.
Nevertheless, USM Alger’s ruthless efficiency in seizing their one clear chance and resolute defending earned them well-deserved praise on a historic night for the Algerian club.