Al Ahly claimed a key in the CAF Champions League on Sunday night, edging Etoile du Sahel 1-0 at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo to go top of Group B.
The result sees the Egyptian giants placed first on 10 points, narrowly ahead of their Tunisian opponents and Sudanese side Al Hilal, who are both tied on nine points. Only two of the three teams will advance into the quarterfinals following the final round of matches next weekend.
The teams traded chances through the first half, with Ahly needing Mohamed El Shenawy to make an excellent saved to deny Karim Aribi in the early minutes.
Yet Etoile’s promising start faded away as the match wore on, with Ahly seizing control and claiming the lead on 32 minutes when Junior Ajayi finished off a well-worked move to put the Red Devils on the board.
Ahly were able to hold their lead up to half time, while early in the second stanza they made a notable change in attack by introducing Kahraba off the bench.
Etoile looked to respond by throwing on Alaya Brigui and Hamza Lahmar in the final quarter hour of regulation time, but they were unable to force an equaliser.
The teams will wrap up their Group B campaigns with matches next Saturday, 1 February. Ahly will be away to Al Hilal in Sudan, while Etoile will host bottom-of-the-log Platinum in Rades.
Al Ahly (1) 1 (Ajayi 32’)
Etoile du Sahel 0
Ahly: El Shenawy, Hany, Rabia, El Hanafi, Maaloul, El Shahat (Soliman 74’), Dieng, Soleya, El Sheikh (Kahraba 55’), Mohsen (Badji 89’), Ajayi
Etoile: Krir, Baayou, Boughattas, Sallemi, Ben Ouanes, Ben Amor, Kechrida (Brigui 77’), Boukenchouche (Lahmar 77’), Msakni, Aribi, El Jemal