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CAFCL: Al Ahly clinch quarterfinal spot with unconvincing performance; Raja top Sétif

Only one quarterfinal spot was up for dispute in the CAF Champions League over the weekend with seven teams having their top-2 group positions secured, and it was a tense encounter for reigning African champions Al Ahly as the Egyptian side took down Sudan’s Al-Hilal 1-0 in Cairo on Sunday. Hussein El Shahat’s 74th minute strike was enough to calm the nerves of Ahly supporters as a home defeat would have seen them crash out at the group stage.

The visitors from Sudan did excellently to stay organized and make it difficult for the hosts to break them down, and Ahly could only muster one shot on target in the first half which came from a header by Ahmed Abdelkader that went right at Hilal keeper Ali Eshrein. Hilal gave Ahly supporters a couple of scary moments around the 70th minute mark, but Eid Mugadam sent his shot over the bar and Burkinabé center back Mohamed Ouattara put a free header over the bar a few minutes later.

Ahly finally got their breakthrough to clinch second place in Group A soon after Hilal had their opportunities. Abdelkader was isolated on the left side of the Hilal penalty area and made an excellent move to get around Ouattara before picking out El Shahat with a low cross, who side footed his finish past Eshrein for the winning strike.

In the other match on Sunday, Raja CA clinched first place with a 1-0 home victory over Algeria’s ES Sétif in Casablanca. The Algerian visitors provided little on the attacking end but stubbornly held out to make things difficult for the Green Eagles. Just before the ten minute mark an attempted Panenka penalty kick by Raja’s Hamid Ahadad came back off the crossbar before being cleared, and the home supporters booed their team for a lengthy stretch. However, a 74th minute penalty kick from Mohamed Nahiri found giant center back Marouane Hadhoudi, who headed in for the game’s lone goal.

Video of the winning goals from both games are below.

Al Ahly (EGY) 1-0 Al-Hilal (SDN)

Raja CA (MAR) 1-0 ES Sétif (ALG)

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