Al Ahly set up CAFCL final showdown with Wydad

Al Ahly set up CAFCL final showdown with Wydad
Ahmed Abdelkader of Al Ahly is challenged by Mohamed Khouthir Ziti of ES Setif during the CAF Champions League 2021/22 Semifinal 2nd Leg match between ES Setif and Al Ahly held at the 5 July 1962 Stadium in Algiers, Algeria on 14 May 2022 ©Ladjal Jafaar/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Sunday May 15, 2022. 09:18

Al Ahly have set up a CAF Champions League final showdown with Wydad Casablanca in Morocco on May 30 after a 2-2 draw ES Setif at Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers on Saturday night.

The Egyptian giants won the two-legged semifinal tie 6-2 on aggregate, having done all the hard running last weekend when they racked up a 4-0 home victory in the first leg in Cairo.

The result means Pitso Mosimane’s Red Devils remain on course to win an unprecedented third successive CAFCL title – and a record extending 11th overall.

The clash of Ahly and Wydad will be a repeat of the 2017 Champions League final, which was won 2-1 on aggregate by the Moroccan side. The Casablanca club were also regular (and antagonising) opponents for Mosimane when he was in charge of South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns.

Any slim hope Setif had of mounting a comeback in this semifinal were quickly extinguished, as a fast-starting Ahly claimed the lead in just the second minute: Ahmed Abdelkader played a neat one-two with Percy Tau before stabbing a shot beyond goalkeeper Sofiana Khedairia to make it 1-0 on the night and 5-0 overall.

The Black Eagles were stunned by the early strike but gradually worked their way back into the game and began to assert some attacking pressure, particularly down the flanks, where they often managed to double up on Ahly’s fullbacks.

They were finally rewarded with a goal in injury time before the interval, with Ahmed Kendouci cutting inside from the right of the penalty area and firing home a left-footed shot via the underside of the crossbar to make it 1-1 on the night and 1-5 on aggregate.

The Algerian hosts kept up the pressure in the second half and were rewarded with a second goal just past the hour mark, with Riad Benayad breaking free down the left flank before moving inside and scoring with a dipping long-range effort that probably should have been saved by Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.

The visitors looked to control the ball more and take the sting out of Setif’s play after the second goal, and they succeeded in frustrating their hosts with short passing patterns which offered no real threat in attack.

That was until injury time when Tau – providing his fourth assist of the tie – teed up substitute Mohamed Sherif to net with a shot which was only half-saved by the ‘keeper and dribbled over the line to end the game at 2-2 on the night and 6-2 overall in favour of Ahly.

ES Setif (1) 2 (Kendouci 45+2’, Benayad 61’)

Al Ahly (1) 2 (Abdelkader 2’, Sherif 90+2’)

First leg 0-4 – Al Ahly won 6-2 on aggregate

ES Setif: Khedairia, Khotir-Ziti, Laribi, Nemdil, Ferhani, Djahnit, Boutiche, Deghmoum (Motrani 62’), Kendouci (Debbari 83’), Djabou, Benayad (Bakrar 73’)

Al Ahly: El Shenawy, Hany, Yasser Ibrahim (Ashraf 90’), Abdelmonem, Maaloul, El Shahat (Rabia 68’), Fathi, Dieng (Koka 86’), Mohamed (Sherif 86’), Abdelkader (Afsha 68’), Tau

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