Wydad AC players celebrate their victory at the end of the CAF Champions League Soccer final soccer match between Morocco s Wydad Athletic Club and Egypt s Al Ahly SC, at the Mohammed V stadium, in Casablanca, Morocco, Monday, May 30, 2022. AP
Featuring in their fifth final in the past five seasons, Ahly were hoping to make history with a record-extending 11th accolade but they appeared out of sorts instead and were undone by a double from winger Zouhair El Moutaraji either side of the interval.
Some sloppy defending cost Ahly, who at times also looked intimated by the raucous atmosphere in Casablanca.
Wydad were egged on by their passionate and vociferous fans, with Ahly only having a few thousand supporters in the northern end of the stands.
The Red Devils had protested in vain against the decision of African governing body CAF to stage the one-off match in Casablanca, arguing that it violated fair play standards. CAF said Morocco was the only bidder after Senegal had pulled out.
Wydad won their third Champions League title while Ahly will be eager to save the season by wrestling the Egyptian Premier League title back from arch-rivals Zamalek, whom they face in the Cairo derby next month.
Ahly looked disjointed in the early stages, with midfield duo Hamdi Fathi and Aliou Dieng, who have just returned from injury, giving away possession far too easily as the team appeared to buckle under Wydad's pressure.
Wydad sent an early warning when burly Congolese striker Guy Mbenza rattled the bar with a powerful shot after 10 minutes before El Moutaraji opened the scoring from a similar effort five minutes later.
Central defender Yasser Ibrahim and Fathi were the culprits, with their wayward passes intercepted as El Moutaraji pounced on the loose ball to let fly with a blistering right-foot shot that nestled into the top near corner and past the despairing dive of keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi.
A brief period of Ahly pressure then forced Wydad to retreat, with Ibrahim coming very close to an equaliser when his free header went just wide following an inswinging corner from veteran left-back Ali Maaloul.
Last month, Ahly also trailed to Wydad's Casablanca rivals Raja at the same stadium in the quarter-final second-leg, only to level the score at 1-1 and advance with a 3-2 aggregate win.
However, it was not meant to be this time as they were taken further aback three minutes into the second half, with El Moutaraji on target again.
Wydad broke forward on a counter attack and Aymane El Hassouni sent in a low cross from the right, with El Moutaraji cutting ahead of Mohamed Hani after the right-back was caught napping.
El Moutaraji stabbed the ball goalwards, with El-Shennawi spilling the ball back into his path to lash home the rebound.
The goal dealt a killer blow to Ahly's hopes as they struggled to step up a gear and only really threatened in the last 10 minutes.
They could have halved the deficit had it not been for a superb double save from keeper Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti, who blocked a close-range shot from substitute Salah Mohsen and rushed out in a timely manner to foil South African forward Percy Tau in a one-on-one.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)