Egyptian giants Al Ahly are through to their fourth consecutive CAF Champions League final after Friday’s 1-0 semifinal second leg victory over Tunisia’s Espérance ST in Cairo. Hussein El Shahat’s excellent first half goal put Ahly far beyond reach after a 3-0 first leg victory in Tunis gave the Egyptian club a massive edge prior to the second leg. Al Ahly will now await the winner of the second semifinal between South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns and defending champions Wydad AC of Morocco which will be determined on Saturday.
After some indications that Espérance may use a heavily rotated squad, the Tunisian giants utilized most of their regular players in Cairo and looked to find an early goal. However the Ahly defense remained solid and attempted to exploit the high defensive line of the visitors, something that worked to perfection for the hosts in the 23rd minute. EST central defender Mohamed Amine Tougai lost the ball in midfield and Ahly forward Percy Tau played an excellent pass to find the run of El Shahat who cleverly lifted his finish past advancing EST goalkeeper Mohamed Debchi.
El Shahat’s goal ended any faint hopes of a miraculous comeback for Espérance. The second half was mostly even between the opponents with Hamdi Fathi coming closest to finding the goal from an excellent cross by Ahly right back Mohamed Hany near the hour mark. Ahly were content to maintain possession and killed the match off successfully with few opportunities in the final thirty minutes. The current Egyptian Premier League will host the first leg of the final on June 4 as CAF returns to a two-legged format.
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