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CAFCC: Al Ahli Tripoli find a breakthrough and hold on for tight victory over rivals Al-Ittihad

Ayoub Ayed’s 19th minute strike stood up as the winner a 1-0 second leg victory for Al Ahli Tripoli, giving them the aggregate victory over fellow Libyan side Al-Ittihad in their CAF Confederation Cup tie on Sunday. Following a 0-0 first leg draw, the teams met again in Benghazi and Ahli did just enough to keep their rivals off the scoreboard to finish the job and advance to the semifinals where they will clash with Orlando Pirates for a spot in the final.

There was far more action and opportunities for both sides compared to last Sunday’s frustrating stalemate and the result could have gone either way. Ahli took control in the first half hour which made the difference in the end. After Mohamed Abu Zurayq came close in the 15th minute, the opener arrived when Ittihad goalkeeper Muad Allafi could only push Mohamed El Monir’s cross out to the penalty spot where Ayed produced a flawless first time strike into the upper corner.

Ittihad stepped up their attacking intent and took control for the remainder of the first half. A 30th minute lofted ball from the left wing was headed across to find Omar Al Khouja, who sent his looping header wide of Mohamed Nashnoush’s goal. Soon before halftime a dangerous free kick from Ittihad’s Ghazi Ayadi threatened the Ahli goal, curling just wide.

The chances dried up for a long stretch following half time but the threat remained from Ittihad, who knew as the designated road side an away goal would make the difference. A golden opportunity came their way in the 76th minute when halftime substitute Abdulate Al Abasi shook off Mahmoud Okashah’s challenge on the right flank and found Al Khouja at the far post. However, with a free header from close range, Al Khouja put his header wide with Nashnoush desperately scrambling to get across.

In the final ten minutes Ittihad came even closer when Al Khouja crossed from the right wing to find Muad Eisa. Eisa’s header looped over Nashnoush and was on its way into the goal but a goal line intervention saw Ahli center back Wissam Bousnina head the ball clear to the relief of his team. Ahli were able to hold out for the narrow victory and will make their first ever appearance in a CAFCC semifinal.

Highlights from Benghazi are below.

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