African Football league Final (First leg)
Sunday, 05 November 2023
Wydad 2-1 Mamelodi Sundowns
Morrocan giants Wydad Athletic Club Casablanca earned a 2-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of the inaugural African Football League (AFL) final in Casablanca on Sunday.
An own goal from Rivaldo Coetzee and a superb late strike by Anas Serrhat gave the Moroccan giants the advantage to take into next week’s second-leg decider.
Sundowns were punished for defensive lapses but know an early goal in the second leg could swing the tie back in their favour.
Coetzee turned an attempted clearance into his own net on 43 minutes as Montassar Lahtimi’s dangerous cross caused chaos in the Sundowns’ defence.
Sundowns fought back in the second half when Abdelmonem Boutouil converted a 74th-minute penalty after Yahya Jebran’s handball.
But Wydad swiftly restored their lead as Serrhat rifled an unstoppable long-range drive beyond Ronwen Williams.
The home side nearly extended their lead but Hamdou Elhouni’s curling injury-time effort cannoned off the crossbar.
It means Wydad will defend a 2-1 aggregate lead in front of over 40,000 fans at Sundowns’ Loftus Versfeld Stadium next Sunday.
The South Africans will take encouragement from previous wins against Al Ahly and Petro Atletico en route to the final.
But Wydad are now firmly in the driving seat to be crowned the first-ever AFL champions on Moroccan soil next week with their first-leg victory.
Source: CAF Online
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