ES Setif defeated Al Ahly 2-1 in the return leg of the teams’ CAF Champions League semifinal on Tuesday night, but it was not enough to prevent the Egyptian giants advancing into a second successive final.
The result at Stade du 8 Mei 1945 sees the Red Devils win 3-2 on aggregate and set up a showdown next month with Tunisia’s Esperance de Tunis, who overcame Primeiro de Agosto in dramatic style earlier in the evening.
Setif had the ball in the back of the net as early as the sixth minute as Saadi Redouani poked home from a melee in the penalty area, but the goal was disallowed due to a foul on Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.
The Algerians came close to claiming the lead midway through the first half when persistence from left wingback Houari Ferhani allowed him to pick out Habib Bouguelmouna, but the striker put his low shot just wide of the near post.
Ahly created the best chance of the first half just four minutes before the break, as Walid Azarou played a great low ball across the face of goal to find Ahmed Hamoudi, but he was denied at point-blank range by a brave save from Setif goalkeeper Moustapha Zeghba.
Yet Zeghba was powerless to prevent the Red Devils claiming the lead just after the hour mark: a perfectly weighted pass from midfield allowed Walid Soliman to run onto the ball and send a low shot beyond the ‘keeper’s left hand, making it 1-0 to Ahly on the night and 3-0 overall.
Setif struck back in the 68th minute with a bizarre goal, as a long-range effort from Islam Bakir found its way past El Shenawy, whose casual attempt to save the shot will surely have enraged his coach Patrice Carteron.
Four minutes later the Black Eagles went ahead for the first time, with Abdel Djabou showing great strength and speed to break free down the left and square for substitute Houssam Ghacha to have a tap in and make it 2-1 on the night.
The Algerian side sniffed blood and threw men forward in an effort to truly bring themselves back into contention overall, but they were unable to add any further goals. Setif won the game 2-1, but Ahly triumphed 3-2 overall.
ES Setif (0) 2 (Bakir 68’, Ghacha 72’)
Al Ahly (0) 1 (Soliman 61’)
Al Ahly won 3-2 on aggregate
Setif: Zeghba, Redouani, Bedrane, Rebiai, Ferhani, Djahnit, Sidhoum (Saad 57’), Alboud (Banouh 82’), Djabou, Bakir, Bouguelmouna (Ghacha 63’)
Ahly: El Shenawy, Fathy, Samir, Coulibaly, Ashraf, Ashour, Al Sulaya, Hamoudi (Hussein 60’), Soliman (Hany 81’), Mohareb (Mohamed 70’), Azarou