Kaizer Chiefs‘ class of 2020/21 have etched their names into Amakhosi’s record books after reaching a historic first ever CAF Champions League final!
Carrying a priceless away goal – thanks to a 1-0 win in Casablanca – into the the second leg at the FNB Stadium, a draw of any scoreline was the least Kaizer Chiefs needed to progress to the tournament’s final.
And that’s exactly what they got after 90 minutes – a 0-0 stalemate.
While it may not have been pretty, it was pretty effective for a team who suffered several late blows when unnamed members of the team and management were ruled out of the match having had contact with people who were Covid-19 positive.
Wydad created most of the attacking pressure in the opening quarter hour, though the first clear chance came from a Chiefs set-piece: a corner kick in the third minute picked out Samir Nurkovic, but the Serbian striker directed his shot wide of the near post.
The Moroccan team forced a couple of straightforward stops from goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, but the Nigerian was truly stretched in the 20th minute, producing an excellent one-handed save to turn away a long-range strike from Aymane El Hassouni which looked destined for the top corner.
On 31 minutes WAC had another chance on goal which saw Ayoub El Kaabi with a snap shot from a cross which deflected into his path, but the effort went straight at the well-positioned Amakhosi ‘keeper.
Eleven minutes later Wydad’s El Kaabi completely ‘fresh aired’ a glorious chance at close range from a flicked-on corner kick – the last chance of a goalless first half which left Chiefs still in control of the tie.
Wydad opted for a change at the start of the second half, with drawing Tanzanian attacker Simon Msuva in favour of Libyan midfielder Muaid Ellafi. The latter teed up the next clear chance, whipping in a great cross in the 59th minute, but an unmarked Walid El Karti headed over the top.
On 62 minutes Chiefs almost killed off the tie with a goal from Nurkovic, but his headed effort toward the top corner was tipped away by Wydad goalkeeper Ahmed Tagnaouti in his first major involvement of the game.
The visiting team continued to spurn good attacking opportunities through to the end of the game, though Chiefs deserve enormous credit for their defensive organisation and resilience – characteristics which were sorely lacking in their domestic campaign but have been key to their success in this semifinal.
Their opponents in the final will be determined by the second-leg clash between Al Ahly and Esperance de Tunis in Cairo later on Saturday evening. The Egyptian hosts hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg.
Kaizer Chiefs 0
Wydad Casablanca 0
Kaizer Chiefs won 1-0 on aggregate
Chiefs: Akpeyi, Ngezana, Mathoho, Cardoso, Frosler (Baccus 85’), Katsande, Blom, Sasman (Mphahlele 78’), Ngcobo, Parker, Nurkovic
Wydad: Tagnaouti, El Amloud, Dari, Jabrane, Farhane, Attiyat Allah, El Hassouni (Skouma 70’), Ounajem, El Karti, El Kaabi, Msuva (Ellafi 46’) ■