CAF Champions League Semi-final Preview: Al Ahly vs ES Setif
Egyptian giants Al Ahly face ES Setif of Algeria in their semi-final second leg clash of the CAF Champions League.
Egyptian giants Al Ahly will attempt to reach their second straight CAF Champions League final when they face ES Setif of Algeria in their semi-final second leg clash set to be played on Tuesday at May Eight Stadium in Algiers.
Eight-time winners Ahly carry seven-match unbeaten Champions League record into the match at the same venue where they fell 2-0 to Setif in the semi-finals 30 years ago.
Setif went on to win the 1988 tie after a penalty shootout, then trounced Iwuanyanwu Nationale of Nigeria in the final to be crowned African champions for the first time.
However, it will be a different match tonight as the Ahly head into the clash with a 2-0 advantage having defeated Setif at El-Salam Stadium in the first leg match thanks to Walid Soliman and Islam Mohareb goals.
ES Setif had their own for much of the encounter and created several goal-scoring opportunities but ultimately fell to the superior quality of the Egyptians.
Setif’s manager Rachid Taoussi has no injuries or suspensions in his squad and could name a similar team to the one that started in Cairo. Abdelmoumene Djabou and El Habib Bougelmouna should continue in attack despite failing to score in their last five appearances for the club.
Al Ahly will be missing a number of players including Momen Zakaria, Nasser Maher, Akram Tawfik, Ali Maaloul, Sherif Ekramy, Junior Ajayi, and Mohamed Naguib.
The good news for the team followers is that Mohamed Gaber, midfielder Amr El-Sulaya and defender Saad Samir have recovered on-time
The Red Devils manager Patrice Carteron is feeling positive ahead of the game which he has pointed out that he respects his opponents.
“Setif is a very strong side, and reaching this stage at the expense of title holders Wydad (Casablanca) is not a coincidence,” Carteron told CAF online.
“It’s not going to be an easy match despite the fact that we are taking a two-goal advantage. The result isn’t soothing as some people may think.”
“We are playing to win, we are always doing that. Whatever the circumstances and whoever the opponent, our target is always victory in every game. The return leg is a totally different story and I told my players to forget all about the first leg result.”
“We have to reach the final from Setif, and we will do whatever it takes to achieve this target.”
There had been only one recent meeting between ES Setif and Al Ahly prior to the first leg of Tuesday’s clash. Both teams faced each other in the CAF Super Cup in 2015 with the Algerians winning on penalties after regulation time ended 1-1.
South African referee Victor Gomes will handle the fixture that is going to be played on artificial turf.
If Setif kicks Al-Ahly out of the tournament, this will likely throw the tournament into one of the most interesting editions in recent years.