All you need to know about the CAF Champions League final
Monday will see Al Ahly chase down a record breaking third successive Caf Champions League title but they must do so at the home of opponents Wydad Casablanca on Monday.
The Cairo giants are looking to become the first club to achieve the feat after winning the last two editions, both under the helm of South African coach Pitso Mosimne.
But they will be away at the Mohamed V Stadium after the Morocco Football Federation controversially won the right to stage the game, allegedly the only country to bid to host the final. The game comes at the end of a long season for both sides.
PLAYING IN CONTINENTAL CLUB COMPETITION
Both clubs are perennial entrants in continental club competition but no side can match Al Ahly’s record of 23 African titles.
Their 10 successes in the CAF Champions League is a runaway record, double the number of their nearest rivals TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo and their neighbours Zamalek, who have won five each.
Wydad have won the top club prize on the continent twice, first in 1992, when their side included a payer from the Soviet Union, and again in 2017, when they defeated Mamelodi Sundowns along the way and Ahly in the final.
They were also runners-up in 2019 when they walked off the pitch in their clash with Esperance when the VAR was not working and eventually declared losers after a bitter court battle.
HEAD TO HEAD MEETINGS
This is the 11th meeting between Ahly and Wydad in the CAF Champions League with the Cairo club 4-2 ahead in the win count.
Their last meeting was in the 2020 semifinal in a two-legged tie just as both sides were coming out of the hibernations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the delay to the competition.
Al Ahly won both encounters, including 2-0 at the Mohamed V Stadium where Monday’s final will be hosted.
Wydad were winners of the 2017 Champions League over Al Ahly when the final was still competed for over two legs and the decisive away goal in Cairo came from Achraf Bencharki, who now plays at Zamalek.
Ahly also won in Morocco in the group stages in 2016 over Wydad but that game was played in Rabat.
HOW THEY DID ON THE WAY TO THE FINAL
Ahly started slowly in this season’s CAF Champions League this season, failing to score in three of their first four games but they have certainly picked up tempo since and scored in each of their last six games in the competition, averaging 2.2 goals per game.
Wydad are the top-scoring team in the CAF Champions League this season with 20 goals, while they have had nine different players score at least once (excluding own goals).
This is the same number as Mamelodi Sundowns.
Some 50 per cent of Wydad’s goals have come from set-pieces (four corners, three free-kicks, one direct free-kick and two penalties).
On the side of the Egyptians, their Bafana striker Percy Tau has been directly involved in eight goals (three goals, five assists), more than any other player in the CAF Champions League this season.
WHO BRINGS DOMESTIC FORM TO THE GAME?
Ahly will have nine days to prepare for the final without any football after what has been a packed year for them. They forced a last gasp win at ENPPI last Saturday, 21 May to move third in the Egyptian league where they are four points behind leaders Zamalek but with three games in hand.
This puts them on course to take the Egyptian Premier League title league title back from Zamalek, who won last season when Ahly slipped in similar circumstances in their catch up matches.
In Morocco, Wydad top the table with six games to play, four points ahead of arch rivals Raja.
Wydad have won two of the last three Botola Pro championships with Raja taking the other.
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