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  • Al Ahly recently won their first CAF Champions League title since 2013
  • They overcame arch-rivals Zamalek to snatch a FIFA Club World Cup ticket
  • FIFA.com reviews their ninth conquest

Over the past three years, Al Ahly experienced disappointments that may have sunk lesser clubs. The Egyptian giants saw the CAF Champions League title elude them at the final hurdle in successive seasons – first in 2017, when they were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Wydad Casablanca, and then in 2018, when they fell to a 3-0 defeat away to Esperance, having won the first leg 3-1 in Cairo.

Al Ahly’s campaign ended at the quarter-final stage in 2019 on the back of a 5-1 aggregate loss to Mamelodi Sundowns, but the Red Devils were not about to give up on their dreams of securing their ninth title.

Strong comeback

Undeterred by these setbacks, and despite all the disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the tournament being delayed by several months prior to the semi-finals, Al Ahly kept their nerve and ultimately won a trophy that had eluded them since 2013.

The campaign

Al Ahly cruised into the group stage, dispatching Atlabara of South Sudan and Cano Sport of Equatorial Guinea before losing their first group game 1-0 away to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia. Home wins over Al Hilal of Sudan, 2-1, and 2-0 over Platinum of Zimbabwe were followed by a valuable point gained from a 1-1 draw in the return fixture in Zimbabwe.

The Red Devils then earned revenge over Etoile du Sahel via a 1-0 home win, before securing second place in the group and a place in the knockout stages via a 1-1 draw at Al Hilal.

In the quarter-finals, Al Ahly avenged their 2019 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns by beating them 2-0 in Cairo before drawing 1-1 in Pretoria. In the last four, the Red Devils thrashed Wydad Casablanca 5-1 on aggregate before defeating arch-rivals Zamalek 2-1 in a memorable final. Amr El Soleya put the Red Devils ahead, Shikabala leveled it for Zamalek, before Mohamed ‘Afsha’ Magdy scored the late winner for Ahly.

What they said

“Along with the final, the quarter-final against Sundowns was the toughest challenge because we wanted to avenge last year’s defeat. We won the final against Zamalek despite not playing as well as we did against Wydad in the semis. Mosimane knows Africa well and he made the Champions League title his main target.”
Hussein El Shahat, Al Ahly forward

“Zamalek were better in the final, and I wasn’t surprised when Shikabala scored the equaliser because they pressed hard. The opposite happened in the Egyptian Super Cup, when we played better but Zamalek won.”
Mohamed El Shenawy, Al Ahly goalkeeper

Did you know?

Al Ahly have experienced highs and lows at the hands of Pitso Mosimane. The South African was in charge of Mamelodi Sundowns when they eliminated Al Ahly in 2019, but was appointed head coach of the Red Devils prior to the semi-finals in 2020.

The number of titles Al Ahly claimed in 2020. Along with the Champions league, they won their domestic league and the Egyptian Cup to complete a historic treble.



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Canelo Alvarez next fight: Mexican superstar expected to face Avni Yildirim at super middleweight in February

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Canelo Alvarez is ready for his next challenge. The unified super middleweight champion is expected to take on Avni Yildirim — the WBC mandatory challenger — on Feb. 27, Canelo’s trainer and manager, Eddy Reynoso, told Boxing Scene. According to both The Athletic and Sports Illustrated, the fight is expected to take place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. 

Alvarez claimed the WBA and vacant WBC super middleweight titles on Dec. 19 with a decision win over Callum Smith in Texas. The pound-for-pound great had been out of action for nearly a year due to the pandemic as well as contractual disputes with Golden Boy Promotions and streaming partner DAZN. Alvarez reached a deal with both in the fall to become a free agent and open up the possibility of fighting whomever he wants. 

Sports Illustrated’s report notes that this is the first matchup in a multi-fight deal between Alvarez and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, who promoted Alvarez’s recent win over Smith. Under this agreement, the expectation is that Alvarez would face Billy Joe Saunders at 168 pounds in May. 

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.

Yildirim, the 29-year-old from Turkey, has only lost twice as a pro. That includes his most recent bout against Anthony Dirrell in February 2019 when an accident headbutt in the 10th round ended the fight and sent it to the judges’ scorecards. Yilidirim lost on points. His only other loss came in his only other bout against higher-level competition when he was knocked out by Chris Eubank Jr. in 2017.



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England in Sri Lanka 2021

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Joe Root is backing his young openers to come through the tough initiation of a maiden Test tour of Asia stronger for the experience.

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley both failed to reach double figures in either innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle and both fell to spin, the same spinner in fact, each time.

Sibley got a faint edge to a ball from left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya which drifted in and spun away slightly for a slips catch while on 4 in the first innings before Crawley chipped to mid-off for 9. On 2 in the second innings, Sibley appeared stunned by Embuldeniya’s arm ball which took the top of off stump, and Crawley fell for 8 to an ill-conceived drive taken at gully.

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Colin Cowherd: It’s time for Colts to trade up in draft and find their franchise quarterback | UNDISPUTED

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Colin Cowherd: It’s time for Colts to trade up in draft and find their franchise quarterback | UNDISPUTED | FOX Sports

Colin Cowherd discusses why it’s time for the Indianapolis Colts to go big in this year’s draft to find their franchise quarterback after Philip Rivers’ decision to retire. Hear why Colin believes the Colts should potentially trade up for the Miami Dolphins #3 overall pick after their announcement to stick with Tua Tagovailoa.

AN HOUR AGO・NFL・5:32

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