Sundowns get crucial away goal in defeat to Wydad in the African Football League final

Sundowns get crucial away goal in defeat to Wydad in the African Football League final
Credit: Icon Sport

Wydad Athletic Club hosted Mamelodi Sundowns in the inaugural final of the African Football League at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca on Sunday evening.

Both teams squared off in this first-leg tie hoping to take on the advantage into the second-leg which comes up at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa next week.

Sundowns got a penalty which Abdelmounaim Boutouil converted in the 75th minute to restore parity after Rivaldo Coetzee's own goal few minutes before the break had given Wydad the lead.

However, it was the home side who reigned supreme in the end as Anas Serrhat won it for the Red Devils in the 79th minute, to set up what will be a cracking second leg in the finals of the African Football League.

Let's delve into the match summary!

Rivaldo Coetzee's own goal handed Wydad a first-half lead

Wydad Casablanca made their intentions known early on as Montasser Lahtimi beat both Abdelmounaim Boutouil and Grant Kekana to cut inside from the right side and power a shot which Rivaldo Coetzee timely blocked.

Wydad AC players
Credit: Icon Sport

The Egyptian champions continued with their superior play, pegging Sundowns deep in their area who struggled to string decent passes to build momentum from the back.

Having given the home side so much respect, the Brazilians finally came into the game and registered their first attempt on goal.

Nku raced down the left flank and rifled a shot which landed on the side net when he had a clean go at the goal.

On the other end, Wydad would make their dominant start to the game count a few minutes before the break.

Lahtimi, who had been menacing for the home side, wiggled his way over Boutouil and Nku to put in a fine cross which Coetzee turned at his own goal to give Wydad the lead.

But just before the break, Lahtimi who created his team's first goal was taken off having received a bad knock.

The first-leg of the African Football League final ended with Wydad leading 1-0.

A second half that both teams scored

Mamelodi Sundowns returned with some level of bite in the second half and showed true intentions to restore parity.

Wydad stood strong to block every attempt from the visitors, but as time wore on Sundowns' coach Rhulani Mokwena made changes.

Mamelodi Sundowns players in action
Credit: Icon Sport

Lesiba Nku and Aubrey Modiba left the field for Gaston Sirino and Neo Maema in the 68th minute.

The changes brought new energy and drive for the Brazilians who attacked and got a corner.

The loose ball from the corner kick fell into the box and Masandawana had two shots blocked but the referee would have a look at it.

The VAR check resulted in a penalty for a handball. Defender Boutouil made no mistakes as he dispatched the spotkick to level up things in the 75th minute!

Nonetheless, four minutes after Sundowns drew level, the Red Devils retook the lead from Serrhat in the 79th minute!

The rest of the minutes saw no other goal as Wydad AC ended 2-1 on top to take the initiative into the second leg which comes up on 11th November with a crucial away goal for the South African side.

Sundowns have not beaten Wydad in three matches now, and what better way to end the run if they can get the job done at home!

Confirmed lineups for Wydad AC vs Mamelodi Sundowns

Wydad AC: Motie (GK); Amloud, Harkass, Aboulfath, Allah; Lahtimi, Jabrane, Draoui; Boussefiane, Haimoud, Bahri.

Mamelodi Sundowns: Williams (GK); Modiba, Coetzee, Kekana, Boutouil; Mudau, Nku, Mokoena, Allende; Zwane, Maseko.

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.