Defending champions Wydad Athletic Club and record winners Al Ahly will clash once again in the final of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League final, each seeking to write a new page in their own history.
After a brilliant season with upsets, new faces and beautiful football, the race has boiled down to these top two, who clash in the first leg on June 4.
With the final reverting to a two-legged affair, Ahly will host the first leg in Cairo before they travel to Casablanca, the venue of their defeat in the single-leg final last year, for the return fixture on June 11.
While Wydad are looking to defend their crown for back to back victories and clinch their fourth diadem, Ahly are seeking for a record extending historic 11th title.
This is the fifth time that the Moroccans are playing in the final, and they lost twice, in 2011 and 2018.
Ahly have a contrasting history in continental football as they have been totally dominant, and this will be their sixth final in seven years.
In 2017, when Wydad won their last title before last year’s, the two sides met in the final, drawing 1-1 in Cairo and The Red Castle winning 1-0 in Casablanca.
Road to the final
Ahly just but managed to squeeze out of the group stages, by t e skin of their teeth. They beat Sudan’s Al Hilal 3-0 in their final group stage match, but the story was before that game as Hilal had a chance to progress at Ahly’s expense in their penultimate group stage match against Mamelodi Sundowns.
But, Athar Eltahir missed a last minute penalty that would have given Hilal a 2-1 win and a ticket to the quarter finals.
Ahly managed to finish the group stage with 10 points, edging out Hilal on head to head. From six matches, they won three, drew one and lost two, both against Mamelodi Sundowns.
Since that close shave, Ahly has been a totally different animal. In the quarter finals, they beat Raja Club Athletic 2-0, winning by that margin in the home leg and drawing 0-0 in a tough return fixture in Casablanca.
In the semis, the Red Devils were in commanding form hitting Esperance du Tunis 3-0 in Rades and 1-0 in Cairo for an aggregate 4-0 victory.
In the preliminary rounds, they thrashed Tunisia’s US Monastir 4-0 on aggregate with a 1-0 in Tunisia and a 3-0 victory in Cairo.
The defending champions have had a convincing road to the final. In the second preliminary round, they thrashed Nigeria’s Rivers United 7-2, but had to bounce back from a 2-1 first leg defeat away. But, they bounced back at home, blowing their Nigerian visitors 6-0.
In the group stages, they finished top of Group A with 13 points. They had four wins from six matches, with a defeat and a draw as well. Their only loss was a 2-1 defeat away to Algeria’s JS Kabylie.
In the quarter finals, they needed post-match penalties to see off Tanzanian giants Simba SC. They lost the first leg in Dar es Salaam 1-0 before winning by a similar margin in Casablanca. They won 4-3 on spot kicks.
In the semis, they prevailed on the away goal rule against favorites Mamelodi Sundowns. They drew 0-0 in the first leg in Casablanca, before playing to a 2-2 stalemate in Pretoria.
Will Ahly win their record extending 11th African crown or will Wydad defend their crown?
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