Al Ahly to Meet Esperance in Africa Champions League final
Al Ahly of Egypt will meet Esperance de Tunis in next month’s African Champions League final after fending off a spirited ES Setif in a semi-final second leg on Tuesday.
Eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt will meet Esperance de Tunis in next month’s African Champions League final after fending off a spirited ES Setif in a semi-final second leg on Tuesday.
Al Ahly, who last played in the final five years ago, advanced 3-2 on aggregate despite losing 2-1 to their Algerian opponents in Algiers.
Esperance beat Angola’s C.D. Primeiro de Agosto 4-2 at home to go through on 4-3 on aggregate.
A 2-0 victory in the first leg that was played two weeks ago gave Al Ahly a comfortable platform for the return match but they were shaken by a dramatic comeback from ES Setif.
Walid Solim scored the crucial away goal just one minute after the hour-mark but ES Setif responded quickly with two consecutive goals from Mohamed Bakir and Hossammadine Chacha in the 71st and 68th minute respectively.
ES Setif enjoyed plenty of possession early on and were unlucky not to go ahead after a double save from El Shenawy denied Mohammed Bakir.
That was before Saadi Redouani saw his frustrations in front of goal continuing following a misplaced header.
A poor clearance by Salif Coulibaly landed straight to Redouanu, who capitalized on a melee from penalty area to beat Elshanawy but his goal was disallowed.
Al Ahly created the best chance of the first half just four minutes before the break when Ahmed Hamoudi played a great through ball to Moroccan striker Walid Azarou inside the penalty area, whose shot was easily saved by the Setif goalkeeper.
After the interval, ES Setif piled more pressure on their visitors in an attempt to break the deadlock leaving empty spaces at the back.
However, Al Ahly drew first blood when Walid Soliman put the Red Devils ahead in the 61st minute to break Setif’s resistance.
Rachid Taoussi’s men refused to throw in the towel and were back in it seven minutes later from Islam Bakir’s long-range effort that found its way past El Shenawy, whose casual attempt to save the shot will surely have enraged his coach Patrice Carteron.
Al Ahly’s best chance to go ahead found Amro Elsoulia’s left-footed strike from a corner deflecting off the head of an opposing defender and onto the top of the post at the 70th minute.
Two minutes later Setif’s Captain Abdelmoumene Djabou easily dribbled past Saad Samir and Mohamed El-Shennawy and crossed the ball to Hossam El-Din who scored an easy open goal.
The Algerian side pushed hard for the third goal, but despite the good touches on the ball in their forward movements, found it tough to penetrate the opponents rear-guard who advance to the final.
How they lined-up:
Setif : Zeghba, Redouani, Bedrane, Rebiai, Ferhani, Djahnit, Sidhoum (Saad 57’), Alboud (Banouh 82’), Djabou, Bakir, Bouguelmouna (Ghacha 63’)
Ahly: El Shenawy, Fathy, Samir, Coulibaly, Ashraf, Ashour, Al Sulaya, Hamoudi (Hussein 60’), Soliman (Hany 81’), Mohareb (Mohamed 70’), Azarou