Samir Nurkovic in action against Al Ahly in their Champions League final. Picture: Toby Ginsberg (KC Studios)
Samir Nurkovic in action against Al Ahly in their Champions League final. Picture: Toby Ginsberg (KC Studios)

CAF Champions League final: Five things we learned from Kaizer Chiefs’ heartbreak

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Jul 18, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Kaizer Chiefs had their hearts broken in their first-ever CAF Champions League final with Egyptian giants Al Ahly showing their class and dominance with a 3-0 rout in Casablanca.

Here are five things we learned...

1. Not so happy for Mashiane

Happy Mashiane promised his mum he would make her proud and bring the Cup home. Unfortunately for the young midfielder, it was his recklessness on the stroke of halftime that played a pivotal role in Chiefs’ downfall. Mashiane flew into a tackle studs up and was fortunate to receive just a yellow card from the referee for the offence. However, after the tackle was reviewed by VAR, the decision was overturned and Mashiane was given his marching orders through a straight red. As Mashiane walked off down the tunnel in disappointment he took Chiefs’ chances in the final with him.

ALSO READ: Pitso Mosimane feels ’conflicted’ about beating Kaizer Chiefs after bagging Al Ahly’s 10th CAF title

2. Experience overpowers youthful exuberance

Al Ahly were playing in their 14th CAF Champions League final and chasing #LaDecima of continental titles, which they have now achieved. Chiefs only qualified for the group stages of the competition for the first time this season, let alone having played in a final before. The Egyptians’ big-match experience was evident on the night in the way they absorbed Chiefs’ early pressure before executing their gameplan to precision. Equally, the occasion was too big for Amakhosi’s youthful midfielders Mashiane and Njabulo Blom.

3. Nurkovic fades after bright start

If Chiefs were to get on the scoresheet in the final, the Amakhosi faithful would have been looking at Samir Nurkovic to find the net. The big Serbian began the final in a bustling manner, leading the line and hassling the Al Ahly central defence. He had a good attempt from distance in the 16th minute, but Mohamed El-Shenawy was well-positioned in the Al Ahly goal. However, as the game progressed, and with the supply line from the Chiefs midfield being choked, Nurkovic became an increasingly frustrated figure, and was eventually substituted with Lazarous Kambole shortly before full time.

ALSO READ: ’Finals are defined by certain incidents ...’ Kaizer Chiefs' red card resulted in their demise, admits Stuart Baxter

4. Ruthless Red Devils

Al Ahly handed out a lesson in terms of burying the opposition when the opportunities arose. All three goals were excellent in terms of movement, passing and ultimately the finishing with Mohamed Sherif, Mohamed Afsha and Amr El Solia all clinically burying their chances that gave Daniel Akpeyi no chance in the Chiefs goal.

5. Pitso is the undisputed King!

The former Mamelodi Sundowns boss is the undisputed king of South African football coaches. Mosimane became the first coach in history to win the CAF Champions League three times after completing successive victories with Al Ahly to go with the star he brought home to Sundowns. This victory would have been extra sweet after Chiefs axed his good friend Gavin Hunt after leading the Amakhosi to the semi-finals and replacing him with his arch-nemesis Stuart Baxter. Mosimane would have particularly enjoyed putting one over the Englishman yet again.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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