Happy Mashiane’s dismissal aside, the South African side offered little in Saturday’s final and must adapt in future deciders

Happy Mashiane’s red card seems the obvious incident to point out in the aftermath of Al Ahly’s 3-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs in Saturday’s Caf Champions League final, owing to how the rest of the game panned out.

The midfielder saw red on the stroke of half-time and Pitso Mosimane’s team ran riot in the second 45 minutes. It had stayed goalless up until the 23-year-old’s dismissal and, in that context, observers with allegiance to the Amakhosi feel it changed the course of the game.

“We couldn’t follow the plan that we’ve had. The red card turned out to be the killer; I had to change the game,” Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter remarked post-match. “In the second half, they put the gas to the floor, the same time we had the handbrake on.

“It was a good performance by Al Ahly, but shame for us we had to deal with a red card.”

Stuart Baxter

Dylan Kerr, manager of South African club Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, hinted that the forward’s sending off gave the continental giants the advantage.

“Sending off did not help for Kaizer [Chiefs], it was the turning point, it killed the fighting spirit by Chiefs and Al Ahly took advantage,” the Maltese-born coach told Goal. “It would have been a better game in the second period, but then Mashiane was sent off.”

In fairness, it feels overly simplistic to attribute Ahly’s win to the red card, owing to how dominant Mosimane’s team were in the opening 45.

Of course, the dismissal opened up the game after half-time, but Chiefs had been disappointing throughout their first Champions League final.