Ahly s Swiss coach Marcel Koller reacts during the second-leg of the CAF Champions League final football match between Morocco s Wydad AC and Egypt s Al-Ahly at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca on June 11, 2023. AFP
Ahly claimed their 11th Champions League title by securing a 1-1 draw against Wydad in the second leg of the final held in Casablanca, resulting in a 3-2 aggregate win over the Moroccan side.
The Reds entered Sunday’s game with a first leg advantage after winning 2-1 in the home game a week ago.
“I talked to my players directly after the first leg and I asked them to score in Morocco. During the break in Sunday’s game I said we must score to clinch the title,” the Swiss coach said in the press conference after the game.
Last season, Wydad secured their third Champions League title by defeating Ahly 2-0 in a single-game final held in Morocco, a fact that had some negative impact on Ahly’s preparations.
“I noticed before the final that some fans and even some players were thinking of last year’s scenario, but I asked my players to forget the matter as this time the final was played in a two-leg format amid different circumstances,” the Ahly coach explained.
“Over the past days, I worked to prepare my players on both the mental and physical levels for the game in Morocco,” he added.
Koller also stressed that he convinced his players that Moroccan fans’ attendance at Stade Mohammed V would not be an issue in Ahly’s quest to secure the title.
“I told my players that although Wydad’s fans would be supporting from the stands, they would not be playing the game itself. We managed to prepare our players to play with no pressures and we achieved our target,” the Ahly coach added.
“The mental strength and also the personality of Ahly in the Champions League final are the outcome of the work of the technical staff with players through the whole season,” the coach concluded.
Having already clinched four titles this season [two Egypt Super Cups, Egypt Cup and CAF Champions League], Ahly's official crowning as league champions is only a matter of time.
The Red Devils currently occupy the second position in the table with 62 points, trailing Pyramids FC by a mere two points, although Pyramids FC have played six more games.
Ahly’s squad arrived in Cairo on Monday morning after the Champions League triumph and were warmly welcomed by the club’s fans at Cairo International airport.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)