A 0-0 draw at the Bidvest Stadium on Sunday afternoon between Wits and Al Ahly saw the Students knocked out of the CAF Champions League at the first round stage; 1-0 on aggregate.
Gavin Hunt’s team enjoyed their fair share of play, but they generally failed to trouble the north African side’s defence on the day as the Egyptian giants used their experience to see off the challenge.
There were a couple of anxious moments for the home side early on when the Egyptians played some dangerous balls into the box.
Having avoided conceding the goal, the home side began to exert themselves on the game and had a great chance on 10 minutes when Daine Klate whipped in a dangerous free kick which Bongani Khumalo glanced towards the far post, only for goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy to tip the ball around the post.
The remainder of the half saw Wits pushing and probing for openings. But their play lacked incision, while the Egyptians, with their 1-0 first leg advantage, were happy to slow proceedings down as much as possible.
However, the South Africans were nearly on the score-sheet just before half-time when first Ekramy denied Buhle Mkhwanazi with an outstanding save, before Al Ahly failed to clear the resultant corner and the ball found it’s way to Gabadinho Mhango, but his shot from a tight angle rattled the upright.
The Students, however, failed to take that momentum into the second half as they battled to find the energy and inspiration to break down a resolute Al Ahly defence.
The home side, though, also needed to be wary of conceding a goal which would have left them needing to score at least twice to save the tie, and it took some determined defending on the hour mark and a save by Moeneeb Josephs to stop Abdallah El Saeed from registering.
With the eight-time Champions League winners increasingly making use of time-wasting antics, there was a rare chance for Eleazar Rodgers with 20 minutes to go, but Ekramy made the save.
Although they weren’t firing on all cylinders, Wits continued to push for a goal and there were chances for Mogakolodi Ngele and Klate, but both failed to hit the target, while at the other end of the field, Josephs did very well to stop Amr Gamal in a one-on-one situation.
That proved to be it for the game as the Students bowed out of Africa’s premier club competition.
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