Pitso Fails To Win His Fourth CAF Champions League

Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Wydad Casablanca in the CAF Champions League final on Monday night at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca, Morroco.

Zouhair El Moutaraji brace was enough to secure the third Champions League for Wydad in history while it denied Al Ahly the third consecutive Champions League title after they lifted the trophy in the past two years under Mosimane. Coach Pitso’s hope of a record-equaling fourth Champions League title also went the same way.

In front of a packed Mohamed V Stadium, noise decibels cranking up to the maximum, Wydad couldn’t think of a loss. They showed their intent from the word go, the sound in the stadium injecting the hunger of a title into their veins.

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The brilliant start created the first chance of the game after just 10 minutes when Yahya Jebrane won the ball in midfield before spraying Guy Mbenza through. However, the Congo Brazzaville forward’s rasping shot from the edge of the area came off the bar.

But that served as the warning bell to Ahly. Five minutes later, they were picking the ball in their net, thanks to a scorching effort from El Moutaraji.

After Ahly lost the ball cheaply on the right, Moutaraji picked on his wheels before unleashing an unstoppable belter from range.

After conceding, Ahly came alive and turned the game in their favour. In the 19th minute, Ali Maaloul curled in an inviting ball to Hussein El Shahaat, but the latter’s effort at goal was picked out by the keeper.

In the 22nd minute, Taher Mohamed sighted space from distance for a shot but it was deflected out for a corner. Ahly won two more in succession and on the second, Yasser Ibrahim flashed a header just wide after peeling off his marker to connect to Maaloul’s delivery.

Ahly were almost caught on the counter in the 31st minute when the influential Jebrane picked the ball and fed off Reda Jaadi who slapped a low ball to Mbenza. However, the burly forward’s shot went wide, much to the relief of the Egyptian side.

They continued their dominance and overall had 68pc of possession in the opening half, but couldn’t show a goal for their effort.

In the second half, Wydad completed the job. They were fast off the blocks once again and just two minutes in, it was 2-0 and the stadium’s roof was lifted with celebration.

A superb counterattack saw Jaadi go off on the right before slashing a cross. El Moutaraji sneaked behind Mohamed Hany to tap the ball but it was saved by Mohamed Elshenawy. But on the second bite of the cherry off the spilled ball, the forward thumped home.

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With a two-goal burden to carry, Coach Mosimane threw caution out of the window, pulling Hussein El Shahaat for Magdy Afsha, Ahmed Abdelkader for Mohamed Sheriff while later, defender Hany came off for Salah Mohsen as Amr El Solia was brought in for Hamdi Fathi.

The offensive changes forced Wydad to defend from deep. Ahly had the chances. Afsha’s shot from distance was saved by Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti while Maaloul had another fly over from inside the box.

Mohsen came close nine minutes to time when he ran on to a freekick inside the six-yard area, but Tagnaouti made a close-range save.

Ahly piled in more pressure, but it never seemed to be their day as they couldn’t conjure a way back, their chase at history ending in a mirage in Casablanca.

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