Al Ahly won a record sixth CAF African Champions League crown today, after drawing 2-2 with Coton Sport of Cameroon in the second leg of the final. The Egyptian giants, title favourites from the start of the competition in February, triumphed 4-2 on aggregate following their victory in Cairo two weeks ago.
Success for Ahly earned them a $1m cheque, plus a place alongside the likes of Manchester United and Liga de Quito in next month's FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008.
Ahmed Hassan gave Ahly a 38th-minute lead, before Lassina Karim levelled in first half stoppage time. Ousmaila Baba then edged Coton Sport in front on 63 minutes, but Red Devils captain Shady Mohamed restored parity from a last-minute penalty.
Coton Sport dominated a high-tempo match in baking heat, before a 35,000 crowd at the Roumde-Adja Stadium in Garoua, only to waste a series of chances. The result gave Al Ahly their third Champions League title in four years, and they also finished as runners-up in 2007 after suffering a shock home defeat by Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in the final.
After weathering the predictable early onslaught from their hosts, veteran midfielder Hassan snatched Ahly a precious away goal by flicking a Mohamed Aboutrika cross past goalkeeper Kassaly Daouda. Niger-born Daouda Kamilou was a constant threat to Ahly, though, and he set up the equaliser by pulling the ball back to Karim, who gave goalkeeper Amir Abdulhamid no chance with a firm strike into the bottom corner.
Coton Sport, appearing in their first Champions League final, started the second half like men possessed, and several chances were spurned before Baba atoned for his misses by heading home. Just one minute later, the Cameroonian squandered a glorious chance to score again, shooting timidly at Abdulhamid after finding himself unmarked in the visitors' penalty area.
Ahly endured several more anxious moments before the sting evaporated from Coton Sport in the closing stages, and a foul by Andre Ndame presented Mohamned with the chance to score from the spot. His penalty sent Daouda the wrong way.
The result ended Coton Sport's seven-match winning run at home in the Champions League. It was also the first time they had conceded two goals in Garoua since making their debut in the competition ten years ago.