Al Ahly eye back-to-back CAF CL final appearances

Al Ahly eye back-to-back CAF CL final appearances
Players warm during the Al Ahly training session

by Bertin Basson

Thursday Jun 17, 2021. 16:00

Esperance de Tunis will host defending champions Al Ahly in a 2020-21 CAF Champions League first-leg semifinal match at Stade Olympique de Rades on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 18h00 CAT.

The Tunisians booked their spot in the final four with a penalty shoot-out win over CR Belouizdad after the two-legged tie ended in a 2-2 draw on aggregate.

The Blood and Gold have enjoyed considerable success in Africa’s premier cup competition, especially of late. Since 2010, Esperance have reached the CAF CL final on five occasions, winning it three times including back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019.

In total, Esperance have won four Champions League crowns and are third on the all-time list behind only Zamalek, TP Mazembe (both five) and Al Ahly who have won a record nine titles.

Al Ahly kept their hopes of a 10th Champions League trophy alive with a 3-1 aggregate win over Mamelodi Sundowns to mark their 17th semifinal appearance in the competition.

It has been a busy season for the defending champions who beat RS Berkane 2-0 in the CAF Super Cup final late last month.

“The game against Esperance will be difficult as they are a big team with a special coach but Ahly are always ready for the big games,” Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane told the Ahly TV channel.

“We played bigger games like Bayern Munich at the FIFA Club World Cup, Zamalek at the African Champions League finals, so we are always ready for the big events.”

This weekend’s match will be the first meeting between the two clubs since the 2018 final which Esperance won 4-3 on aggregate following 3-0 win in Rades.

The aggregate winner will face either Wydad Casablanca or Kaizer Chiefs in this year’s final.

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