Egyptian giants Al Ahly will take on Moroccan rivals and holders Wydad Athletic Club in the final of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League next weekend, with the Red Devils seeking a record-extending 11th CAF Champions League crown.
Ahly will host the first leg in Cairo, this duel being a repeat of last year’s final when Wydad edged them out 2-0 in Casablanca to clinch the crown. This will also be the third time that the two rivals are facing off in the final.
This is the fourth time in a row that Ahly are playing the final of the Champions League, and the eighth in 12 years, underlying their status as one of the strongest teams in the continent.
Ahly started their journey to the final in the second preliminary round, where they faced off with Tunisia’s US Monastir, edging them out 4-0 on aggregate to make the group stages. They won 1-0 in Tunisia, before completing the job in Cairo with a 3-0 victory.
Ahly were drawn in a tough Group B where they would face off with South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, Sudan’s Al Hilal and Cameroon’s Cotonsport.
They just but managed to squeeze into the quarter-finals after qualifying on the final day with a 3-0 win over Hilal. They edged the Sudanese side out on head-to-head record. Hilal would have completed the job in the previous match day, had they converted a last-minute penalty against Sundowns.
The Egyptian giants only lost two matches in the group, 5-2 against Sundowns and 1-0 against Hilal both away from home. They drew with the South Africans in Cairo (2-2) and beat Cameroon’s Cotonsport home (4-0) and away (3-0).
In the last eight, Ahly edged out Morocco’s Raja Club Athletic, winning 2-0 in Cairo and drawing 0-0 in Casablanca to progress to the semi-finals.
They would face Tunisia’s Esperance in the semis, and they finished off the job in the first leg in Rades where they won 3-0 and wrapped it up with a 1-0 victory at home in Cairo for a 4-0 aggregate score.
Second preliminary round:
US Monastir 0-1 Al Ahly, Al Ahly 3-0 US Monastir
Al Ahly 3-0 Cotonspoort, Al Hilal 1-0 Al Ahly, Al Ahly 2-2 Mamelodi Sundowns, Mamelodi Sundowns 5-2 Al Ahly, Cotonsport 0-4 Al Ahly, Al Ahly 3-0 Al Hilal
Al-Ahly 2-0 Raja Club Athletic, Raja Club Athletic 0-0 Al Ahly
Esperance 0-3 Al Ahly, Al Ahly 1-0 Esperance