Picture : Percy Tau scored the first goal for Al Ahly.

Al Ahly 2-1 win over Wydad sets stage for blistering second leg final Sunday.    

Some 2000 fans who accompanied Wydad of Casablanca to Sunday’s first leg final of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League game against Al Ahly celebrated the scoreline for a strong reason: they cut down on the 2-goal lead by the opponents barely four minutes to the end of regulation time; and can now easily win their 4th Champions League trophy next Sunday if they were to win by just a goal. That once more underscores the importance of the away goals rule. But we are not yet there.

The more enterprising side, Al Ahly, fanned on by an overwhelming home crowd transformed their domination of Wydad into the opener three minutes into stoppage time of the first half. A commendable effort to the flanks brought back a seemingly lost chance into play for the assist which Percy Tau nodded home in sumptuous fashion. That lead quickly obliterated the anguish after a VAR check ten minutes earlier had annulled both penalty and yellow card following the referee’s misjudgment . Al Ahly pulled the highly defensive Wydad out of their base into the second half, creating the opening that saw Mahmoud Kahraba  convert a cleanly laid pass in the 59th minute. The visitors would try hitting back when a brilliant left foot drive saw the ball rebound from the woodwork some 10 minutes later. However, their efforts got the benediction four minutes from regulation time following a smart combination upfront for newcomer Saifeddine Bouhra to nail in the highly priced goal which could prove to be the straw that broke a national dream in Egypt.

3-time winners, Wydad prevailed in last year’s final and look to keep the trophy again next Sunday at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca. But it will certainly require more than just hopes to prevent the most performing side in the history of the tournament from making it for the 11th time yet.