Mamelodi Sundowns have booked their place in the inaugural African Football League(AFL) final after defeating Al Ahly 1-0 on aggregate in the semi-final.
The South African side held on to their slender lead from the first leg and survived a late penalty scare in the second leg.
Williams Saves The Day
The hero of the match was Sundowns goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who saved a penalty from Ali Maaloul in the eighth minute.
Williams also denied former Sundowns star Percy Tau twice and Al Ahly also hit the woodwork twice.
Williams showed why he is nominated for the CAF Goalkeeper of the Year award with his brilliant performance.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) November 1, 2023
Mendieta Sees Red
Sundowns had to play the last six minutes with 10 men after substitute Junior Mendieta was sent off for a dangerous tackle.
The Argentine midfielder had only been on the pitch for 13 minutes, replacing captain Themba Zwane.
Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena brought on defender Mosa Lebusa to reinforce his backline and protect the lead.
The match also saw the first use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in this tie, as Sphelele Mkhulise’s handball in the box was reviewed.
However, VAR ruled that the infringement was outside the area and no penalty was given.
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Al Ahly were frustrated by the decision and could not find a way past Sundowns’ defence.
Sundowns will face Wydad Casablanca in the two-legged final, with the first leg taking place in Morocco this Sunday.
History in the making 📜
Wydad and Sundowns set the stage for the first #AFL final showdown 🏟️
— African Football League (@afl_africa) November 1, 2023
The Brazilians will hope to become the first AFL champions and add to their continental glory.
Wydad, on the other hand, will seek revenge for their Caf Champions League defeat to Al Ahly last season.