Egyptian and African club giants, Al Ahly defeated local rivals Zamalek to win the CAF Champions League for a record 9th time.
Ahly, who went into the game with some key players missing after testing positive for COVID-19 raised the curtains as early as the 5th minute. The Egyptian champions scored through an Al-Sulaya header as they aimed to end their 7-year drought of continental success.
Zamalek thereafter showed more commitment to having the ball and had crisp passing all night in the Cairo derby at the magnificent Cairo International Stadium.
Lively Abdelrazek Shikabala’s beautiful solo effort helped Zamalek level in the 31st minute as they got rewarded for their better possession and urgency.
The second half saw a more stoked match with players of both teams putting their bodies on the line on many occasions.
Ahly improved after the break, and took the game to Zamalek who have been continental champions three times. Nigeria’s Junior Ajayi was lost to injury shortly after the break but it did little to stop Ahly from showing greater purpose.
The game got settled on the 86th minute as Ahly’s Mohammed Magdy scored an all-important winner to hand a 9th continental triumph to the Egyptians.
The game tagged “derby of the century” lived up to hype as a rare football spectacle was seen on a night where the team with a stroke of luck and experience won.
Ahly’s South African coach Pitso Mosimane underlined his status as the best coach in Africa as he has now won the continental showpiece with two different teams in two different countries.
He won the CAF Champions League with Premier Soccer League side, Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016 before his newest success with Al Ahly.
“Zamalek have a good team, they played well and gave us a big scare, they made us play better in the second half because they were stronger in the first,” Mosimane said after the game.
“They played like us, that’s the way we play but yeah, Al Ahly fans, I need to say to them that this is my gift to them. This Champions League trophy is there’s, they deserve it.”
The former Bafana Bafana boss further dedicated the success to the passionate supporters.
“I hope Inshallah that corona passes and we can have them in the stadiums again,” he said. “They deserve this trophy, they have waited for long, every week they came to the training sessions.
“Every day, everywhere I go they said ‘please win the trophy, please win the trophy’. The trophy is there now, there’s the trophy, maybe I can be a free man now [laughs].”
Sudan’s Al Hilal Omdurman Sign Jamaica Defender Alvas Elvis Powell
Sudan’s Al Hilal Omdurman have announced the signing of Jamaica defender Alvas Elvis Powell and Senegalese forward Ibrahima Mame N’Diaye.
Powell, 26, who joined from David Beckham’s MLS side Inter Miami sign a contract until the end of the season, with an option for a one-year extension.
Powell spent most of Inter Miami’s inaugural Major League Soccer season as an unused substitute, playing just four matches in total and only starting two of those.
The Jamaican previously played for Cincinnati FC where he spent the 2019 season. He also played for the Portland Timbers for six years.
Powell was a key member of the Portland Timbers squad that won the 2015 MLS Cup. He made 31 regular season appearances and six playoff appearances en route to the title, starting in each one.
He also has 49 caps for Jamaica including playing at two Gold Cups and two Caribbean Cups, which he won in 2014.
N’Diaye, 26, joined from Serbian side FK Čukarički. The forward played for ASC Linguère in Senegal before Serbian club, Napredak Kruševac, in 2012.
In 2017, N’Diaye joined Danish club Randers on a five-month contract, making seven competitive appearances for the side and scoring one goal in the Danish Cup.
In 2018, N’Diaye returned to Serbia and his former club Napredak Kruševac.
The deal for the players was reportedly organised and financially backed by Al Hilal’s honorary president Turki Al Sheikkh, a wealthy businessman who is also the chairman of Saudi’s General Entertainment Authority and former owner of Egyptian club Pyramids.
FA Cup: Salah Scores Brace as Liverpool Bow Out 3-2 to Man United
English champions, Liverpool, were on Sunday knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United in a thrilling 3-2 encounter at Old Trafford.
Mohamed Salah’s chipped finish gave Liverpool a short-lived lead after 18 minutes until Mason Greenwood levelled for Manchester United eight minutes later in an even first half.
Marcus Rashford stunned Liverpool early in the second half and Salah scored again to restore equal terms until Fernandes fired a 78th-minute direct free-kick into the bottom right corner to complete the victory.
“When you go a goal down, the reaction of everyone was really good,” said Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who famously scored the winner in a 1999 2-1 FA Cup victory between the English giants.
“Great goal, good free-kick. (Fernandes) stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday (Saturday) shooting free-kicks. So, I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance.”
Manchester United will host West Ham United in their fifth-round tie in early February.
Earlier, Tammy Abraham scored a hat-trick to help Chelsea advance with a 3-1 win over second-tier Championship side Luton Town in snowy conditions at Stamford Bridge.
English Premier League (EPL) sides Leicester City and Burnley are also through with Leicester coming back from a goal down to beat Brentford 3-1, while Jay Rodriguez scored twice for Burnley in a 3-0 win at Fulham.
Liverpool lost their three-year unbeaten league stretch at Anfield on Thursday against Burnley and have not won a game since securing a 4-1 success against Aston Villa in the previous Cup round.
Juergen Klopp’s men found the start they needed when Roberto Firmino threaded a pass to Salah, who flicked the ball over Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
Manchester United responded moments later when Rashford picked out Greenwood with an inch-perfect ball from the middle of the field which required just two touches for the England international to score.
Greenwood returned the favour at the start of the second half when his lofted pass caught Liverpool defender Rhys Williams off guard as Rashford raced through to put Manchester United ahead.
As the hour mark approached, Salah boosted Liverpool’s hopes with a second goal when he swept home a low cross from Firmino.
But when Fabinho fouled Manchester United’s striker Edinson Cavani on the edge of the box, the tie was done.
Portugal midfielder Fernandes stepped up, picked his spot and lashed in the winner for his 28th Manchester United goal.
Abraham scored two goals in six minutes with 17 minutes played to put Chelsea in command, but Luton’s Jordan Clark gave the visitors hope on the half-hour mark.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was at fault for Luton’s goal as Clark’s low shot from a tight angle slipped through the Spaniard’s hand.
England striker Abraham completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute with an easy tap-in, before his German team-mate Timo Werner had a late penalty kick saved by Simon Sluga.
“Great to score a hat-trick and win the game so comfortably,” Abraham said. “It is always nice to get a win and play well. Hopefully we will take that confidence on.”
Frank Lampard’s men will travel to Barnsley for the next round, another Championship side who progressed on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Norwich.
Leicester City, who were without striker Jamie Vardy due to a hernia, were stunned in the seventh minute.
That was when second-tier Brentford’s Danish defender Mads Sorensen knocked in from close range when Leicester failed to clear a corner-kick.
But a second half goal from Cengiz Under, a Youri Tielemans penalty kick and James Maddison’s 71st minute strike saw them through to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the fifth round.
Rodriguez’s double, plus a goal from Kevin Long, earned Burnley a meeting with either fourth-tier League Two side Crawley Town or Bournemouth, who play their tie on Tuesday.
Morocco’s En-Nesyri Hat-trick Hands Sevilla Win over Cadiz
Moroccan Youssef En-Nesyri scored his second hat-trick in the space of a month to give Sevilla a 3-0 win over Cadiz.
The victory lifts the home side to third in the table and means that with 12 goals, En-Nesyri is current top goalscorer in the Spanish top-flight.
He got his first on the rebound after Suso’s shot had come off a post on 35 minutes.
He doubled the lead heading in a Suso free-kick on 39 minutes, and he nodded in the third from close range on 62 minutes.
“I have not changed anything, this is just the result of hard work and focus,” said the Morocco international, who has now scored hat-tricks in consecutive home matches.
He managed to net the second in spite of having needed treatment a moment earlier because of an eye problem.
“I couldn’t see properly out of one eye. But I knew the cross was for me and so I had to try to finish it. I scored the goal with one eye,” he said.
Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said: “I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased for the team. The attitude and the mentality of the team was excellent.”
Lopetegui will also be pleased En-Nesyri, who was linked with a move to West Ham in the transfer window, has no plans to move on.
The 23-year-old striker added: “I want to finish the season at Sevilla. This is a great club and I am very happy here.”
Also on Saturday, Huesca drew 0-0 with Villarreal and Real Sociedad drew 2-2 with Betis.
Real Madrid closed the gap at the top of the Spanish La Liga to four points with a 4-1 away win at Alaves on Saturday.
Casemiro headed in the first goal on 13 minutes and Karim Benzema doubled the lead on 41 minutes.
Eden Hazard was excellent in the first half and may be credited with an assist as he tried to flick the ball through to Benzema.
But there was no doubt about his involvement in the third goal, as he scored from Toni Kroos’ assist.
Alaves were brighter in the second half and Joselu pulled a goal back with a powerful header on 59 minutes.
But Benzema raced away to get his second of the game and the fourth for Real Madrid and put the result beyond doubt.
The result was the perfect way to help Real Madrid forget the midweek Cup exit against third-tier Alcoyano.
“It was what we needed after a difficult week. We want to win every game but every game is difficult,” Benzema said.
“This will be good for confidence and there is still a long way to go in the season.”
For Alaves it was not the way they wanted to celebrate the club’s 100th birthday.
Coach Abelardo Fernandez said: “We disappeared as a team after the first goal. At least there was a reaction in the second half.”
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