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Clinical Ahly score decisive second leg victory over Espérance to seal spot in CAFCL final

The second leg started out similarly to the first matchup, with Ahly willing to sit back a bit and try and exploit on the counter against an Espérance side that was eager to attack and desperate for a goal. There were very few opportunities for either side in the opening 25 minutes with EST continuing to be confounded by the organized Ahly formation. Algerian midfielder Abdelraouf Benguit had the first look in the 28th minute with a bouncing effort from distance that forced Ahly keeper Mohamed El Shenawy to parry wide.

Ahly started to make inroads through their countering strategy and had their first opportunity in the 30nd minute when a chipped free kick into the EST penalty area but a low cross was fended off by the Espérance defense. Two minutes later the decisive moment arrived for Ahly. Taher Mohamed and Mohamed Sherif played a combination and Mohamed went down as he attempted to reach the return ball. After a lengthy VAR review the referee awarded a penalty kick and a red card to Illyes Chetti for holding Mohamed back and denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. Ahly’s Tunisian left back Ali Maâloul stepped up and waited for keeper Moez Ben Cherifa to commit before sending his spot kick high and down the middle, putting the Egyptian side up.

The second half featured a class display from the defending CAF Champions League holders as Ahly asserted themselves on a helpless 10-player Espérance side. Ahly’s second goal came in the 56th minute when inspired substitute Hussein El Shahat passed inside to Mohamed Magdy “Afsha”, who tapped a delicate through ball through an Espérance defender’s legs to Mohamed Sherif for a left footed finish.

Only a few minutes later it was El Shahat’s turn to get on the score sheet with Afsha the creator again, sending a brilliant aerial ball that El Shahat took down brilliantly before finishing with class past Ben Cherifa. Initially ruled out for offside, a VAR review confirmed the goal for El Shahat and any little hope Espérance had was extinguished. It was a dominant second half performance for Ahly against a demoralized EST club and their spot in the final was emphatically confirmed.

Highlights of the match are below. Ahly will take on Kaizer Chiefs in the final on July 17.

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