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Al Ahly cruise in victory over 10-player Kaizer Chiefs for successful defense of CAF Champions League crown

Egypt’s Al Ahly delivered a stellar second half performance to seal their status as repeat champions of the CAF Champions League, defeating Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa 3-0 in Casablanca on Saturday for their tenth title in Africa’s premier club competition. Mohamed Sherif, Mohamed Magdi Afsha and Amr El Solia all delivered class strikes to lift the Egyptian champions to yet another triumph as Kaizer Chiefs were powerless to resist following a red card at the end of the first half.

There were early signs of promise for Kaizer Chiefs. Many expected the heavy underdogs to bunker down with ten players behind the ball like they did in their 1-0 semifinal aggregate victory over Wydad AC, but Amakhosi attempted to come out and attack to keep Ahly on their heels a bit. The plan was successful in the opening period with Chiefs’ physical brand of football keeping Ahly from generating clear opportunities while posing a bit of a threat to the favorites’ goal.

The first opportunity for either side in a mostly uneventful first half came for Chiefs in the 16th minute, when Samir Nurkovic had room to rasp a curling shot on target, stinging the gloves of Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy who handled it with little trouble. Ahly were limited to long range efforts and failed to break down Chiefs in the first half, with Hussein El Shahat and Afsha both shooting nowhere near their targets from outside the box.

However, an incident at the end of the first half spelled doom for Chiefs. Defender Happy Mashiane went in aggressively for a challenge on Ahly right back Akram Tawfik that initially brought Mashiane a yellow card. Burundian referee Pacifique Ndabihawenimana was called to review the incident on Video Assistant Review and decided to upgrade the yellow card to a red card for Mashiane, putting Chiefs down to ten players right before halftime.

The red card was a devastating blow to Chiefs, and their game plan unraveled once the teams kicked off the second half. Ahly’s opening strike came in the 53rd minute when an excellent through ball from Tawfik found in form striker Mohamed Sherif, who lifted his shot over sliding Kaizer Chiefs keeper Daniel Akpeyi. Ten minuts later, Sherif was involved again when Afsha played a combination with the forward before curling a gorgeous shot from the edge of the area off of Akpeyi’s post and into the goal for the second.

Ahly’s precision counter attacks caught out an Amakhosi side that had to push players forward in order to attempt to get back into the match, and another goal in the 74th minute put the final away for the Egyptian club. Left back Ali Maâloul switched fields over to El Shahat near the edge of Kaizer Chiefs’ penalty area. El Shahat fed Sherif in a central area and the forward played a clever backheel to find an onrushing El Solia, who made had plenty of room to line up a curling shot of his own that left Akpeyi once again with no chance.

The second half for Ahly was a clinical breakdown of how to unlock a team with ten players and there was little worry for the Egyptian side once the goals started flowing. Check out the highlights of Ahly’s tenth CAF Champions League conquest below.

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