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Al Ahly held to scoreless draw in Sudan by spirited Al-Hilal

Defending African champions Al Ahly were fortunate to escape Omdurman with a point in Friday’s action at the CAF Champions League as the Egyptian giants slumped to a 0-0 draw against Sudan’s Al-Hilal. The Sudanese hosts had many opportunities to win the match but Ahly’s defense held out well for the road point despite a poor performance.

Al-Hilal have more than held their own in a CAFCL Group A that features African titans Al Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns, and after looking worthy of a point against Sundowns in South Africa, the Blue Wave continued to look dangerous on Friday. João Mota’s side were tactically sharp and set the tone in the first half by threatening primarily down the right flank through speedy winger Yaser Muzmel. However, Ahly goalkeeper Ali Lotfy and center backs Mohamed Abdelmonem and Yasser Ibrahim did excellently to keep the hosts off the scoreboard by halftime.

Ahly’s performance improved slightly in the second half and saw their best opportunities of the match. In the 52nd minute, left back Ali Maâloul was able to get behind the Hilal defense but with a fellow attacker waiting to finish at the far post, the Tunisian’s low cross was well cut out by goalkeeper Ali Eshrein.

Al-Hilal will be disappointed that they could not convert on the multiple set piece opportunities they had, and in the second half the attack of the hosts was contained more as Ahly dropped more players deep. New Al-Hilal signings Abdul Ajagun and Gerald Phiri, Jr. were instrumental in the midfield but the attack struggled to finish when opportunities were presented. Ahly nearly stole a victory in second half stoppage time but a low effort from outside the penalty area by Mohamed Magdy “Afsha” beat Eshrein and bounced back off the post.

Highlights are below as Ahly manager Pitso Mosimane will face serious questions about his team’s performance.

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