[QODLink]
Football

Aboutrika inspires Al Ahly to African crown

Egypt veteran scores in last home game before retiring to beat Orlando Pirates and give Cairo team eighth African title.

Last updated: 10 Nov 2013 21:17
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Aboutrika is embraced after putting the seal on a spectacular career in African football [AP]

Al Ahly's Mohamed Aboutrika underlined his status as the most successful player in African club competition over the last decade by scoring in a 2-0 final win over Orlando Pirates that clinched another African Champions League crown.

His 54th minute strike set up the Egyptians for their second-leg victory over the South Africans in Cairo, and a 3-1 aggregate triumph, to put a successful seal on a stellar career.

Ahmed Abdelzaher added a second goal 12 minutes from time to ensure Ahly lifted the trophy for a record-extending eighth time, after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Soweto last weekend, and qualified for next month's Club World Cup in Morocco.

Egyptian Aboutrika, playing his last home game before retiring at the end of the year, has featured in five of Al Ahly's Champions League-winning sides in the last eight years, consistently delivering talismanic performances.

He swept home a loose ball from close range after a shot from Ahmed Fathi was blocked by the Pirates defence but fell fortuitously into his path, underlining Aboutrika's uncanny ability to pop up in the right place at the right time.

The goal came at a crucial time for Ahly, who had spent most of the game on the back foot before breaking the spirit of the South Africans and allowing the Cairo club to assume command.

The Egyptian side's success came against a backdrop of political upheaval in the north African country, which has had a major impact on Ahly who have not played outside the Champions League since the domestic league was cancelled in June.

It was only a special concession by the country's military authorities that allowed the final to be played in Cairo, where all major football had been stopped since the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi's government in July.

Some 30,000 spectators were allowed into the Arab Contractors Stadium, with clashes reported outside between police and ticketless supporters seeking entry.

It was a rare opportunity for Ahly to play in front of a home crowd but they were kept mostly quiet in the first half as Tlou Segolela missed two good chances to give Pirates the lead.

Pirates striker Lennox Bacela went round the keeper soon after Aboutrika's goal but somehow missed the target before the unmarked Abdelzaher swept the ball home for Ahly's second goal.

Aboutrika, who has also won three African Nations Cup titles with Egypt, was substituted to an emotional send off in stoppage time, swamped by the collective embrace of his bench, policemen and photographers as he left the field in triumph.

439

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.