A sensational late Mohamed Magdy aim gave Al Ahly victory over Cairo rivals Zamalek within the first ever one-legged African Champions League remaining.
Magdy’s 88th-minute winner settled an entertaining match by which his aspect had gone forward early via Amr El Soleya, just for Shikabala to cancel that out earlier than half-time with a world-class effort of his personal.
Ahly ought to have already got been main after Elshahat in some way hit the submit when confronted with a totally empty internet early within the second half.
The win gave them a record-extending ninth African Champions League crown, and in addition means their boss, South African Pitso Mosimane, turns into simply the third coach to win the title with two completely different golf equipment.
The 2020 version of the competitors had been delayed due to Covid-19, and measures to regulate the virus meant that the primary African Champions League remaining to be performed between two groups from the identical nation happened behind closed doorways.
It may possibly solely be imagined what an environment would have been contained in the Cairo Worldwide Stadium had followers been allowed in, however however these watching across the metropolis – and certainly the continent – had been handled to a improbable recreation that belied the tense nature of most main finals.
This was partly helped by how shortly Al Ahly went forward.
They seized the initiative proper from the beginning and after solely 4 minutes, they received a nook because of a robust run and shot from winger Hussein Ali Elshahat.
From that nook, El Soleya rose comfortably above the Zamalek defence to move powerfully in.
Zamalek had been rocked and it took them some time to get again into the sport. Solely across the 20 minute mark did they start to look threatening and check Al Ahly.
However steadily they acquired into more and more extra promising positions. After which on 31 minutes, their captain, Shikabala, produced one thing fairly extraordinary to get them on degree phrases.
Coming in on the right-hand aspect, the skilled midfielder confirmed a breathless flip of tempo to chop inside, taking out two Ahly defenders in a single motion, earlier than firing previous Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed Elshanawy along with his left foot from exterior of the penalty space.
The precision, the tempo and the execution had been all magnificent.
It was solely a miss…
Within the wake of Shikabala’s aim, the match continued to ebb and stream with either side unafraid to decide to quick breaks and pictures from exterior the penalty field that different between speculative and spectacular.
Ahly, nonetheless, actually ought to have gone again into the lead on 53 minutes when a superb ball – which took out all of the Zamalek defenders and their goalkeeper Gabal Ali – was performed throughout to Elshahat.
Elshahat had an empty internet to goal at from nearly sq. on to the right-hand submit. However, with nearly an excessive amount of time to consider it, he managed solely to hit that submit.
Each side looked for a winner and made nice use of the tempo of their wingers – Zizo for Zamalek and Magdy for Ahly – to get shut.
However the recreation appeared to be heading to additional time when Magdy was performed in on the left, a long way from the Zamalek space.
In a single fluid motion, he managed the ball along with his knee, flicking it up after which smashing it throughout and previous Gabal Ali.
It was a really world-class effort – and the Ahly gamers celebrated for all they had been value. They knew at that second they had been African champions.