Mamelodi Sundowns have advanced to the inaugural African Football League final with a 1-0 aggregate win over Al Ahly in the semi-finals.
African Football League
Result: Al Ahly 0-0 Mamelodi Sundowns (0-1 aggregate)
Date: 01 November 2023
Venue: Cairo International Stadium
Brazilians coach Rulani Mokwena made just one change from the first leg victory as Mothobi Mvala returned from suspension and replaced Tebohho Mokoena in the middle of the park.
Just days after coach Marcel Koller complained about not getting a penalty, Al Ahly were awarded a spot-kick after eight minutes for Ronwen Williams’ foul on Percy Tay. However, the Sundowns goalkeeper would redeem himself by saving Ali Maâloul’s spot-kick.
The home side remained on the attack and they were nearly gifted an opener on 28 minutes when Williams dropped a cross in the box, but the Sundowns shot-stopper shot-stopper had Rivaldo Coetzee to thank for blocking Kaharaba’s goal-bound shot.
Sundowns, meanwhile, were unable to carve out any serious openings and were restricted to strikes from distance, none of which threatened Al Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.
It was a dominant first-half display from the reigning African champions but the only thing missing from their performance was a goal.
Mokwena looked to help his charges gain more control on the ball in the second half by introducing Bongani Zungu right after the interval, with Mvala making way after a solid shift.
The home side, who were struggling to carve out chances, made a few alterations of their own, as Marcel Koller introduced Anthony Modeste and Reda Slim for Hussein El Shahat and Kahraba.
With time winding down, Sundowns were reduced to ten men with seven minutes left on the clock when substitute Junior Mendieta was shown a straight red card for dangerous challenge.
There was a late scare in second-half stoppage when Malooul’s cross hit the arm of Sphelele Mkhulise but after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the referee deemed the contact to have taken place outside of the box.
Sundowns were able to hold for the final minutes and secure their spot in the final, where they will face Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca on Sunday.
Here’s how they line up:
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