El Moutaraji double gives Wydad African Champions League title
Wydad Casablanca winger Zouhair El Moutaraji scored both goals as they claimed African Champions League glory with a 2-0 victory over holders Al Ahly in the final at a raucous Stade Mohammed V.
Wydad celebrated a third continental crown after triumphs in 1992 and 2017 as they denied Ahly a record third straight title after El Moutaraji scored his first with a thunderous long-range strike and grabbed a second from close range, Reuters reports.
The goals sent the home fans into raptures, with the final controversially staged at Wydad’s stadium after the Confederation of African Football said Morocco was the only bidder, Senegal having withdrawn their application.
Ahly failed in a bid to have the match postponed and moved to a neutral territory after their appeal to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport was turned down last week.
Ahly’s loss is more disappointment for Egyptian football in 2022 after the country were beaten by Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations final in Cameroon and then lost to the same team in the playoffs for a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Wydad gave an early warning to the visitors when striker Guy Mbenza struck the bar with a powerful shot from the edge of the box.
They then took the lead after 15 minutes as El Moutaraji picked up the ball 30 metres from goal and unleashed a superb strike into the top corner that gave Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy no chance.
The Egyptians were rushed in their passing and coughed up possession too easily but looked dangerous from set-pieces and should have equalised when defender Yasser Ibrahim headed wide from a corner.
That might have turned the contest in their favour, but Wydad doubled their advantage three minutes into the second half when El Moutaraji stole in ahead of ball-watching Ahly defender Mohamed Hany at the back post.
His initial shot was saved but he lashed home the rebound.
Ahly tried to claw their way back into the game and forced a number of saves from Wydad keeper Reda Tagnaouti, but their night ended in disappointment despite the fact they dominated possession and looked the more enterprising of the two teams.