Alexandria - Mamelodi Sundowns won a fairytale first CAF Champions League title on Sunday despite a 1-0 second-leg loss to Zamalek of Egypt in Alexandria.
As it happened: Zamalek v Mamelodi Sundowns
A Stanley Ohawuchi goal on 64 minutes was not enough for the home
team as they trailed by three goals from the first leg in Pretoria last
weekend and lost 3-1 on aggregate.
It was a remarkable triumph because the South Africans were
eliminated in the final qualifying round in April only to be reinstated
when their Democratic Republic of Congo opponents were disqualified.
Success for Sundowns made them $1.5 million
richer and secured a place at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan during
"It was an amazing journey of ups and downs and now we are the
champions of Africa," said Sundowns' Zimbabwe striker Khama Billiat.
"We look forward to Japan and facing the best clubs in the game. It is going to be an absolute pleasure."
Winger Keagan Dolly said: "We knew it was going to be difficult
because Zamalek are a great team with some outstanding individuals.
"Some people will say we were lucky to get a second chance after
being eliminated, but I believe we deserve to be African champions."
Goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy and captain and midfielder "Shikabala"
were among those dropped as Zamalek coach Moamen Soliman made four
changes from the side that started the first leg.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane had to make one enforced alteration
with huge Ivorian centre-back Bangaly Soumahoro coming in for suspended
Although facing a mammoth task, history offered a hope to Zamalek
with two of three previous Champions League finalists in a similar
predicament emerging as overall winners.
An estimated 60,000 predominantly Zamalek supporters were inside the
86,000-capacity Borg El Arab Stadium on the outskirts of Alexandria as
the match kicked off.
There are few more nerve-inducing factors in African football than a
large Egyptian crowd roaring on their team, but Sundowns calmly survived
The first scoring chance for the hosts came after 12 minutes when
Nigerian Ohawuchi burst through and beat goalkeeper Dennis Onyango, but
the ball trickled wide.
Ugandan Onyango, a 2016 Africa-based Footballer of the Year finalist,
needed medical attention three times before being replaced by Wayne
Sandilands on 28 minutes.
Striker Basem Morsy had been headlined as the Zamalek dangerman, but recent signing Ohawuchi was posing a bigger threat.
A wild but crucial clearance from Soumahoro foiled another attempt by
the Nigerian to break the deadlock before Sundowns began to threaten
The first serious chance for the South Africans came on 35 minutes
when awarded a free-kick just outside the box, but captain Hlompho
Kekana struck the ball into the wall.
Zamalek goalkeeper Mahmoud Abdel Rahim did well to push away a
goal-bound shot from Percy Tau and a looping Billiat shot struck the top
of the crossbar before flying wide.
The injuries to Onyango meant eight minutes of first-half stoppage
time during which Liberian Anthony Laffor troubled Zamalek twice with a
shot and a header.
Half-time arrived with the second leg goalless and Sundowns retaining
the three-goal advantage they established in Pretoria last weekend.
Zamalek started the second half as they did the first, controlling
possession and territory but rarely looking like cracking open Sundowns'
After 64 minutes the Egyptian outfit scored and it was no surprise that the goal came from livewire Ohawuchi.
Receiving possession well outside the box, he beat one man and
unleashed a low, long-range drive that flew into the corner of the net
off the left hand of Sandilands.
Rahim, Khaled (Shikabala 76), Dweidar, Gabr, Yusuf, Hamed (Saleh 85), Tawfik (captain), Ohawuchi, Hefny (Mayuka 85), Fathy, Morsy
Substitutes: El-Shennawy, O. Salah, I. Salah, Gamal, A. Fathi, Shikabala, Mayuka
Onyango (Sandilands 28), Mbekile, Soumahoro, Nthethe, Langerman, Mabunda, Kekana (captain), Tau (Laffor 72), Billiat (S. Zwane 84), Laffor, Dolly
Substitutes: Sandilands, S.Zwane, Modise, Mohomi, T. Zwane, Mashaba, Madisha
List of CAF Champions League title-holders after Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa won the 2016 edition on Sunday:
8: Al Ahly (EGY)
5: TP Mazembe (COD), Zamalek (EGY)
3: Canon Yaounde (CMR), Hafia (GUI), Raja Casablanca (MAR)
2: JS Kabylie, Entente Setif (both ALG), Asante Kotoko (GHA), Enyimba (NGR), Esperance (TUN)
1: ASEC, Stade Abidjan (both CIV), Club Africain, Etoile Sahel (both TUN), FAR Rabat, Wydad Casablanca (both MAR), Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates (both RSA), Oryx Douala, Union Douala (both CMR), CARA (CGO), Hearts of Oak (GHA), Ismaily (EGY), Mouloudia Alger (ALG), V Club (COD)
Note: competition called African Cup of Champions Clubs until 1997 when prize money was introduced and quarter-finals were replaced by groups