Al Ahly beat Orlando Pirates 2-0 to defend African title
A goal each from Mohamed Aboutreika and Ahmed Abdel Zaher aided Al-Ahly to a 2-0 win over Orlando Pirates on Sunday in the final of the Orange CAF Champions League in Cairo.
Aboutreika scored the opener on 53 minutes before Zaher sealed victory on 77 minutes to ensure the Egyptian giants completed a successful defence 3-1 on aggregate and secure their eighth triumph overall.
Though a well-deserved win for the Red Devils, the had to sweat for the much-needed victory against an Orlando Pirates side, that showed so much promise in their quest for their first continental title since 1995.
The atmosphere was charged with every corner of space at the Arab Contractors Stadium filled by the red army of hard core Ahly fans who roared throughout the game
The holders started on a good footing in search of the first goal to unsettle their guests, who adopted a relaxed approach relying on the counter.
The first chance of the opening came the way of Ahly after 12 minutes but Mohamed Naguib headed wide from Sayed MoawadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s perfect cross. It was the host all the way and five minutes later, Ahmed Fathy took on the Pirates defence but his final touch to Ahmed Abdel Zaher was no trouble for Pirates goalie Senyo Meyiwa.
On 18 minutes, Pirates had their first chance at goal but Ahly goalie Sherif Ekramy was to his sideÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rescue coming off his line to save with his feet a shot from Tlou Segolela.
The pendulum swung the way of Ahly and Abdel Zaher delivered a long range effort that went wide to the relief of the South Africans
As the game wore on, the Red Devils kept the visitors defence boiling with consistent raids, but the Pirates backline remained resolute.
Pirates resumed strongly but it was Ahly who broke the deadlock during a raid upfront led by the talismanic Aboutreika on 53 minutes. He finished off a pass from Said by firing past Meyiwa and the ecstatic crowd went wild.
Ten minutes later, Pirates had a perfect opportunity to level up and Oupa Manyisa put Luyanda Bacela through, but after rounding off Ahly goalie Ekramy, Luyanda failed to slot in with the yawning net at his mercy.
On 77 minutes, Abdel Zaher doubled the lead by finishing off a three-man move with substitute Ahmed Shadid and Ahmed Fathy as the actors. Shadid, who replaced Soliman earlier, laid to Fathy who squared for Abdel Zaher to tap in from close range.
Eight minutes from time, the host suffered a numerical blow after right-back Sherif Abdel Fadil was sent off after his second yellow card for a foul of Daine Klate.
Despite the numerical strength, Ahly held on with substitute Emad Moteab wasting a one-on-one opportunity with Meyiwa in the dying embers of the game.
Ahly received a cheque for 1.5 million US dollars and will represent the continent at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco next month.
AhlyÃ¢â‚¬â€œ Sherif Ekramy, Sherif Abdel Fadil, Sayed Moawad, Mohamed Naguib, Wael Gomaa, Hossam Ashour, Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Aboutreika, Abdallah Said, Ahmed Abdel Zaher/Rami Rabia, Waleed Soliman/Ahmed Shadid
Orlando PiratesÃ¢â‚¬â€œ Senyo Meyiwa, Petros Mahamutsu, Lucky Legwathi, Ayanda Gcaba, Thabo Matlaba, Lehlogonolo Maselesa, Daine Klate/Terence Makola, Sifiso Myeni, Tlou Segolela/Collins Mbesuma, Oupa Manyisa, Luyanda Bacela.