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Wydad Casablanca triumphs 2-1 in AFL final first leg against Mamelodi Sundowns

Posted : 06 November 2023
Wydad Casablanca seized a 2-1 triumph over Mamelodi Sundowns in the inaugural African Football League (AFL) final, which unfolded in Casablanca on a memorable Sunday. In a highly anticipated clash, the Moroccan giants showcased their prowess with a combination of an own goal by Rivaldo Coetzee and a sensational late strike by Anas Serrhat, giving them the upper hand going into the decisive second leg next week.
Sundowns faced the consequences of defensive lapses, notably when Coetzee inadvertently deflected a clearance into his own net in the 43rd minute, following Montassar Lahtimi's dangerous cross that induced chaos in the Sundowns defense. The South African side, however, demonstrated resilience in the second half. Abdelmonem Boutouil converted a crucial penalty in the 74th minute after Yahya Jebran's handball, momentarily restoring hope.
Yet, Wydad swiftly reclaimed the lead when Serrhat unleashed an unstoppable long-range drive beyond Ronwen Williams, leaving the visitors with an uphill battle. Although the home side nearly extended their advantage, Hamdou Elhouni's curling injury-time effort struck the crossbar.
The outcome means that Wydad will defend their 2-1 aggregate lead in front of an impressive crowd of over 40,000 fans at Sundowns' Loftus Versfeld Stadium next Sunday. While Sundowns draw inspiration from their previous victories against Al Ahly and Petro Atletico en route to the final, Wydad now sits firmly in the driver's seat, primed to be crowned the first-ever AFL champions on Moroccan soil with their first-leg triumph.


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