On This Day: Ismaily becomes first Egyptian club to win CAF Champions League Title

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Sat, 09 Jan 2021 - 12:11 GMT

Egyptian Newspaper's headline celebrate Ismaily's achievement

Egyptian Newspaper's headline celebrate Ismaily's achievement

CAIRO-9 January 2021: On this day 51 years ago, the capital witnessed one of the most beautiful days in the history of the Egyptian football. Egyptian fans, whatever the club they support, gathered behind Ismaily who faced Congo’s Englebert in the 1969 African Champions League final.

Ismaily, who were forced to leave their home stadium in Ismailia due to war, participated in the competition as the 1967 Egyptian league champions, which was the last league season before the war.

Ismaily played their home matches at Zamalek stadium in Cairo and they managed to reach the final after knocking out Libya’s Al-Tahaddy, Kenya’s Gor Mahia, and Ghana’s Asante Kotoko to book a place in the final.

Ismaily became the first Egyptian club to reach the final in the second participation of Egyptian clubs in the competition as Olympic Club reached the 1967 Champions League quarter-finals but withdrew after the war started.

Ismaily played the final’s first leg in Congo against Englebert, who were aiming to secure the African title for the third consecutive season.

The Congolese team expected an easy first leg at home but the Egyptian players put on a strong performance and secured a 2-2 draw to have a slight advantage going into the second leg.

In the second leg in Cairo, All Egyptian fans were behind Ismaily, as they were the team that found a way to succeed despite the difficult circumstances, and everyone believed that this victory would return happiness to the war-torn hearts.

Ismaily decided to play the match at Cairo Stadium to allow more fans to attend the match and support the Egyptian team.

Ismaily manager Ali Othman’s starting line-up for the game consisted of Hassan Mokhtar, Amin Ibrahim, Morsy Senary, Hoda Liston, Mimi Darwish, Nasr El Sayed, Sayed Hamed, Refaat Ragab (known as Reeo), Abdel Rahman Anoos, Bazzoka and Ali Abo Grisha.

Except for Reeo, who was born in Cairo, all the starting line-up players were born in Ismailia and lost their friends and left their homes during the war, and they were ready to destroy their opponent.

Abo Grisha opened the score after 30 minutes, after he tricked four defenders and the goalkeeper to put the ball in the back of the net.

Englebert players created many chances to score the equalizer, but they failed in the first half’s remaining minutes.

Englebert equalized the score six minutes after the start of the second half with a strike from inside the box, making the score 1-1.

Abo Grisha won a penalty nine minutes later, after he was tackled by an Englebert defender, and Bazooka converted it into a goal to make the score 2-1.

Ali Othman substituted Reeo for Amiro, who dominated the right flank and created many chances to score.

Bazooka secured Ismaily’s title when he scored the third goal two minutes before the final whistle, and the game ended 3-1 for the Egyptians.

Ismaily, who are suffering in the last decade, wrote their names in history with letters of gold as they opened the doors for Egyptian clubs to dominate the competition.

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