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Sunday, October 1, 2023

CAF Champions League: Late Abdelmonem goal gives Al Ahly their 11th African club crown

Al Ahly returned to the top of African club football on Sunday after a 1-1 second leg draw in Casablanca gave the Egyptian side a 3-2 aggregate victory in the 2022-23 CAF Champions League final. Egypt national team central defender Mohamed Abdelmonem headed in a crucial late equalizer for Ahly to silence the home support of Wydad, who were set to capture the trophy if Yahya Attiyat Allah’s first half goal stood as the winner. Ahly are the African club champions for the eleventh time following Sunday’s result.

As expected the match was fiercely contested by both teams with few goal scoring opportunities in the first half. Center official Bamlak Tessema Weyesa became the busiest person on the pitch as the intensity increased but an inspired set piece gave hosts Wydad the goal they were searching for in the 27th minute. A dangerous free kick service from left back Yahya Attiyat Allah was swung into the Al Ahly six-yard box, bouncing just beyond the reach of Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy and into the goal to spark frenzied celebrations.

It was more of the same in the second half with time wasting and disruptions as Wydad attempted to make Attiyat Allah’s goal stand as the winner. Each team managed only one shot on goal through ninety minutes but Ahly were rewarded for their attacking efforts with a magical moment in the 78th minute. Ali Maâloul sent a corner kick to the near post where Abdelmonem arrived to perfectly flick his header past Wydad keeper Youssef El Motie and just inside the far post for the trophy-winning goal.

A stunned Wydad team attempted to launch desperate attacks but it was time for Ahly to disrupt and defend. The hosts threatened on a couple of set pieces in stoppage time but El Shenawy and his defense held strong to confirm yet another trophy for Africa’s most successful club.

Highlights of the second leg are below.

27′: A free kick from Yahya Attiyat Allah puts hosts Wydad into the lead

78′: Ahly defender Mohamed Abdelmonem stuns the Wydad supporters into silence with his headed goal

Al Ahly lift the CAF Champions League trophy