Red Devils secure two-goal lead

Red Devils secure two-goal lead
Mohamed Abdelmoneim of Al Ahly celebrates goal during the CAF Champions League 2022/23 quarterfinal match between Al Ahly and Raja Casablanca held at Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 22 April 2023 ©Weam Mostafa/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Apr 22, 2023. 23:26

Al Ahly proved too strong for Raja Casablanca in the first leg of a CAF Champions League quarterfinal on Saturday night, as they claimed a 2-0 win at the Cairo International Stadium.

Goals from Mohamed Abdelmonem and Hamdi Fathy handed the Egyptian hosts victory, and a strong lead to take to the return game in Morocco next weekend.

Raja almost claimed the lead as early as the fourth minute, with Mohamed Nahiri firing a superb effort on target directly from a free kick, but Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy turned the shot away for a corner kick.

Midway through the first half Ahly had the ball in the back of the net via Kahraba, who latched onto a deflected shot from Hussein El Shahat before stabbing home from close range, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.

On 34 minutes Raja capitalised on winning the ball high up the field, with Walid Sabbar putting Mohamed Zrida in on goal, but the hard-running midfielder was denied by the onrushing El Shenawy.

The final phase of the first half saw the Red Devils dial up the attacking pressure, and they were rewarded with a goal in the second minute of injury time, as Mohamed Abdelmonem got on the end of Ali Maloul’s cross and powered home a superb header to make it 1-0.

The early stages of the second half were evenly contested, with the Green Eagles seeing more of the ball than they managed before the break, while Ahly offered a potent threat when given the chance to counter attack.

The hosts reclaimed the ascendancy in terms of possession as the second half wore on, with Tau almost doubling the lead with just under 20 minutes to play when he burst through the defence playing a one-two, but he was denied by the legs of Zniti.

Ahly continued to search for a second goal and it duly arrived in the 84th minute, as Tau’s clever ball put Hamdi Fathy in space and the substitute cracked home a left-footed shot for 2-0.

The return leg match will be held at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Saturday 29 April. The aggregate winners will face either JS Kabylie (Algeria) or Esperance de Tunis (Tunisa) in the semifinals.

Al Ahly (1) 2 (Abdelmonem 45+2’, Fathy 84’)

Raja Casablanca 0

Ahly: El Shenawy, Hany, Metwaly, Abdelmonem, Maaloul, Dieng, Attia, El Solia (Fathy 69’), El Shahat (Ibrahim 89’), Kahraba (Sherif 68’), Tau

Raja: Zniti, Harkass, Hadhoudi, Nahiri, Bentayg, Sabbar (Camara 59’), Zrida (Hafidi 79’), Habti (Boulascou 59’), Aholou, Bouzok (Zerhouni 79’), Khabba (Benjdida 88’)

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