Saturday,18 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1368, (9 - 15 November 2017)
Saturday,18 November, 2017
Issue 1368, (9 - 15 November 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Wydad’s long wait is over

Ahly lost 1-0 to Wydad Casablanca to give the Moroccan team a title they have wanted for years, reports Abeer Anwar

 

Wydad’s players celebrate their long-awaited trophy

In Casablanca on Saturday, Wydad of Morocco became African champions for the second time after beating Egypt’s Ahly 1-0, 2-1 on aggregate in the second leg of the CAF Champions League final. The first time was 25 years ago in 1992 when they defeated Al-Hilal of Sudan in what was then called the African Cup of Champions Clubs.

Walid Al-Karty scored his team’s lone goal on the 69th minute after a first leg draw 1-1 in Alexandria last weekend. Achraf Bencharki, who equalised in the first leg, set up the goal with a deflected cross for Al-Karty to score his third goal of the competition.

Wydad pocketed a record $2.5 million and are guaranteed at least another $1 million by competing at the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in December.

Although Ahly dominated play they were unable to score and lost a number of golden chances, the biggest coming from Momen Zakaria who went one-on-one with goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi who made a beautiful stop.

Ahly head coach Hossam Al-Badri said that his players were more powerful and dangerous than Wydad’s despite the 1-0 defeat, blaming the referee for the loss.

“Wydad are entitled champions but not by the performance. They scored from an obvious offside while the referee deprived us of two well-deserved penalties,” Al-Badri said in the post-match press conference. “I warned before of refereeing mistakes and we suffered from it in the two legs of the final, but it seems that nobody cares about African refereeing,” he added. “It’s very sad that African tournaments are being won by referees.”

Al-Badri was hopeful of a second title under his watch, having guided the club to 2012 glory in a previous spell at the helm. Ahly have won a record eight African titles and were looking for a record-extending ninth.


Ahly fans after the club’s loss

Wydad were making their third appearance in the final having lost to Esperance of Tunisia six seasons ago. Going into the final they boasted a perfect Champions League home record this year of six victories.
Among their victims were Ahly in the group stage with goals from now-departed Congo Brazzaville striker Fabrice Ondama and midfielder El-Kharty delivering a 2-0 win.
They also eliminated defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa on penalties after a Salaheddine Saidi goal won the second leg in Rabat.
The Wydad defence and goalkeeper Laaroubi were outstanding at home in Africa, going 517 minutes without conceding before USM Alger of Algeria netted in the semi-finals.

As a bit of consolation, Ahly left-back Ali Maaloul and winger Zakaria were named in the African Champions League team of the year, African governing body CAF announced.

Both men played an instrumental role in steering Ahly to a place in the Champions League final as the club chased a record-extending ninth title and their first since 2013.

Zakaria scored three goals and provided four assists in Ahly’s run to the final. His goals included a superb volley in the team’s 1-1 draw at home to Wydad Casablanca in the first leg of the competition’s final last month.

Tunisian full-back Maaloul earned plaudits for his forays up front as he scored two goals and created three others. His two goals were crucial, coming against Tunisia’s Esperance in the last eight and Etoile du Sahel in the semis.

Wydad had four representatives in CAF’s team of the year: defenders Hamdi Nagguez and Youssef Rabeh as well as midfielders Brahim Nekkach and Mohamed Ounajem.

 

THE FULL CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TEAM:

Goalkeeper: Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Defenders: Hamdi Nagguez, Youssef Rabeh (Wydad Casablanca), Farouk Chafai (USM Alger), Ali Maaloul (Ahly)

Midfielders: Brahim Nekkach, Mohamed Ounajem (Wydad Casablanca), Mohamed Amine ben Amor (Etoile du Sahel), Momen Zakareya (Ahly)

Forwards: Percy Tau (Mamelodi Sundowns), Taha Yassine Khenissi (Esperance)

add comment

  
 
 
  • follow us on