Al Ahly of Cairo obtained a crushing victory in front of its host Espérance de Tunis on the score without appeal (3-0), in the semi-final first leg of the CAF Champions League, disputed Friday evening at the Olympic Stadium Hammadi Agrebi of Radès (southern suburb of Tunis).
A big victory which allows the Ahlaouis to take a step in the final even before the return explanation in a week in Cairo.
Al Ahly, who eliminated Raja Casablanca in the quarter-finals, made the trip to Tunis with a full squad and remaining on a victory in the Egyptian championship ahead of Pyramids.
On paper, the Cairo club had the favor of the forecasts. On the ground, the Cairenes did not take long to confirm their supremacy.
We had barely played the 8th when, served in the back of the Esperanto defenders by Kahraba, the South African striker of Al Ahly, Percy Tau, completed the work with a powerful and crossed shot against which the “blood and gold” goalkeeper Sedki Debchi was helpless.
An early conceded goal could only complicate the task of Moroccan Sabir Bougrine’s comrades who approached this semi-final first leg of the Champions League when they were in a very bad position.
In addition to remaining on two defeats in the league, including that conceded in the derby last Sunday, the “Blood and Gold” trod the lawn of Olympique de Radès with a reduced workforce due to injuries, including their spearhead, the Libyan Hamdou El Houni and the first goalkeeper Moez Ben Chérifia. In addition, and because of the sanctions imposed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), they played in front of empty stands. The closed session is part of the CAF sanctions.
An Esperance of Tunis which is therefore at its worst, but which nevertheless tried to catch up. In the 13th, the Esperantists’ first attempt through Moataz Zaddem who saw his shot deflected by the Cairo goalkeeper, Mohamed El Shenawy.
A minute later, the Algerian defender of Esperance, Mohamed Amine Tougaï, miserably missed his deflection of the head in front of empty nets (14th).
And although the Tunisians went on the attack in search of the goal of equalization, the specificity of the game of the Cairotes, who are particularly dangerous each time they accelerate, made the difference.
In addition, the Ahlaouis almost killed the match with a second goal even before the half-time break, except that Kahraba, the author of the decisive pass which gave rise to Tau’s goal, missed a golden opportunity to put: served on a plate, he found himself face to face with the opposing goalkeeper to shoot miserably aside (27th).
For their part, the “Sang et Or” kept hope until the end to equalize before joining the locker room for the half-time break.
But luck turned its back on them, first to Mohamed Ben Romdhane who saw his shot intercepted by the Cairo goalkeeper (35th), then to Sabir Bougrine in added time and who saw his shot, from a direct free kick at approaching the 16-meter zone, deflected for a corner by El Shenawy (45th + 1).
With this attempt by Bougrine, the referee invited the two teams to join the locker room for the half-time break.
At half-time, the “Sang et Or” coach made the choice to replace Sabir Bougrine with Anis Badri. Despite this change, supposed to bring added value to the offensive animation, the scenario at the start of the match was to be repeated. We were playing the 55th when the South African, Percy Tau, returned to the charge, but this time to do the job alone, starting by infiltrating on the right before dribbling the central defenders, Tougaï in particular, caught time to control his ball before sending a shot so well framed that Debchi could not intercept it.
This killer goal reflected the terrible failures of an oh so floating Esperantist defense. And as after the first goal conceded, the Esperantists tried to react after having conceded the second: against the return of Tougaï, El Shenawy, author of a nice parade, moved away the danger (59th).
But truth be told, the “Blood and Gold” who have been in their lowest form for some time now, were a shadow of themselves most of the time and it is not the changes wrought by their coach, Nabil Maâloul, who were going to put them back in the seal.
On the contrary, the Cairenes who perfectly dominated the debates, would definitively destroy the hopes of their hosts: served by Hussein El Shahat, Kahraba, with a shot as powerful as it was on target, tripled the bet (75th).
A third goal oh so precious for the Cairenes. With this crushing victory and these three away goals, Les Ahlaouis take a big step forward in the final.
For the Esperantists, this heavy defeat at home makes their qualification mission in the final of the CAF Champions League almost impossible. The return leg will take place in a week, on Friday May 19 from 8:00 p.m.