Kaizer Chiefs reached their first ever Champions League final after a 0-0 draw with Wydad Athletic Club on Saturday night.
Amakhosi will now face off against Al Ahly in the continent’s showpiece final on July 17. The Egyptians dispatched Esperance 3-0 in the other semi-final, booking themselves yet another place in the continent’s showcase event.
We summarised a dramatic Saturday night with these five notable stats.
1. The charm of winning away
The two finalists had come into the second leg ties having both won the first leg away from home, both winning by the same 1-0 scoreline. This continued a long standing tradition in the competition.
Two-legged semi finals were in place in the old African Cup of Champions Clubs (pre-1997). When the present Champions League was introduced in 1997, the two winners of the Group Stage went straight to a final with no semi-final stage for four years.
0 – Since the two-legged semi-final knockout format was re-introduced to the African
Cup/Champions League in 2001, no club has failed to progress to the final of the Champions League after winning the first leg away from home.
2. Chiefs and clean sheets
Amakhosi came into the tie knowing that a clean sheet would be enough to send them through. Their opponents had scored just once from open play away from home, while Chiefs were yet to concede a goal at home. The numbers looked good, but Daniel Akpeyi was kept a busy man all night. Yet, he did not budge. In doing so, Chiefs join an exclusive club featuring an achievement done once in the 1990s, once in the 2000s and once in the 2010s.
4 – Since the Champions League was established, Kaizer Chiefs are just the 4th team to make it all the way to the final without conceding a goal at home, following Esperance (1999, 2011) and Al Ahly (2007).
3. Daniel Akpeyi the wall
It’s no surprise then that Chiefs have kept the most clean sheets of all teams in the
tournament this season with 11. Watching Akpeyi keep Wydad at bay last night
showed how crucial he still is to the side. Yet, the clean sheets have been divided among three different Chiefs goalkeepers – Daniel Akpeyi, Itu Khune and Bruce Bvuma, and all of them have been important. The Nigerian stands out in that:
0 – Akpeyi is yet to concede a goal in the #TotalCAFCL this season (6 games – 8 hours and 11 minutes of football).
He’s the only keeper in the entire competition to have played more than 90 minutes and not conceded at least once.
4. Arthur Zwane comes full circle
This is Chiefs’ first continental Cup final since the 2001 Cup Winners Cup. In 2001, only four players started every match in that run to the final – goalkeeper Brian Baloyi, Cyril Nzama, Patrick Mabedi and Arthur Zwane.
20 – Zwane was a Chiefs player when they reached the Cup Winners Cup final in
2001, and 20 years later, he is a Kaizer Chiefs (caretaker) coach as they reach their first CAF Champions League final.
Good news: Chiefs won the Cup Winners Cup with Zwane & co.
Bad news: Chiefs lost against Al Ahly in the following Super Cup with Zwane & co.
5. Al Ahly’s La Decima?
Awaiting Amakhosi are Pitso Mosimane’s Red Devils in what will be billed as an all-South African clash. The former Sundowns coach has already won the trophy with Al Ahly last season, becoming the second non-Egyptian coach to lift the continental crown for the club.
In going through to their 14th African Cup final (ACCC & CAFCL), they have extended their record number of appearances at the continent’s showpiece event.
9 – Al Ahly have won 9 African Cup/Champions League titles in their history, more than any other club, and could lift La Decima with a win in Morocco against Chiefs.
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By Opta Jabu