Al Ahly put one foot in CAFCL final

Al Ahly put one foot in CAFCL final
Percy Tau of Al Ahly celebrates goal during the CAF Champions League 2021/22 Semifinal 1st Leg match between Al Ahly and ES Setif held at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 7 May 2022 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday May 07, 2022. 22:18

Al Ahly have put one foot in the final of the CAF Champions League after they defeated 10-man ES Setif 4-0 at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on Saturday night.

The Red Devils triumphed in the first-leg, semifinal clash thanks in the main to Percy Tau, who both opened and closed the scoring, as well as provided assists for Taher Mohamed and Mohamed Sherif.

The Black Eagles, meanwhile, were hamstrung by a sending off for Amir Karaoui and will have a mountain to claim in the return game in Algeria next Saturday night if they are to bring themselves back into contention.

Al Ahly thought they had gotten off to a flying start when Taher Mohamed found the back of the net – via a deflected shot – in the third minute, but a VAR review disallowed the goal due to an offside call, much to the disappointment of the home fans.

Nonetheless, Ahly claimed the lead on the half-hour mark when Mohamed provided a sumptuous in-swinging cross from the left flank to pick out Percy Tau, who scored with a downward header past Setif goalkeeper Sofiana Khedairia.

Five minutes later Setif were reduced to 10 men when Amir Karaoui was sent off for a stamp on the ankles of Hussein El Shahat. Referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa initially only brandished a yellow card, but upon a VAR review he rescinded the caution and opted for a full dismissal.

The Algerian side should have levelled the game in injury time before the interval when a free kick delivery passed through a crowded Ahly penalty to find an unmarked Hicham Belkaroui at the far post, but he skewed an effort wide from close range.

The Red Devils doubled their lead nine minutes into the second stanza, with Tau and Mohamed swapping roles: the South African striker’s low shot deflected off a defender and looped up to be the perfect assist for Mohamed to run in and head home from close range for 2-0.

A third goal arrived in the 72nd minute, with substitute Mohamed Sherif running onto a through ball from Tau before chipping beyond Khedairia to put the Egyptian hosts in full control of the tie.

And Tau completed his masterful display with a second goal in the final minute of regulation time, easily tapping home from close range after fine set-up play from Luis Miquissone and Mohamed Hany.

The return leg will be held at Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers on the evening of Saturday 14 May. The aggregate winners will advance into the final against either Petro de Luanda or Wydad Casablanca on 29 May.

Al Ahly (1) 4 (Tau 30’ 90’, Mohamed 54’, Sherif 72’)

ES Setif 0

Al Ahly: El Shenawy, Hany, Ashraf, Ibrahim, Maaloul, Dieng, Fathi (Afsha 73’), El Shahat (Miquissone 68’), Abdelkader (Soliman 80’), Mohamed (Sherif 68’), Tau

ES Setif: Khedairia, Khotir (Debbari 77’), Belkaroui, Ferhani, Boutiche, Laribi (Nemdil 63’), Djahnit, Karaoui, Kendouci, Benayad (Motrani 63’), Djabou (Deghmoum 77’)

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