Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)
Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Etoile draw first blood

Though Egypt’s Ahly lost the first round against Etoile of Tunisia in the African Champions League semi-final first leg, they have a chance to make amends back home, reports Abeer Anwar

 

Ahly lost against Etoile of Tunisia
Ahly lost against Etoile of Tunisia

Ahly lost their CAF Champions League semi-final first leg contender 2-1 to Tunisia’s Etoile in a thriller played in Tunisia on Sunday.

Alaya Brigui gave the home team the lead on 16 minutes at the Stade Olympique in the Mediterranean resort of Sousse following a mix-up at the Ahly back four but substitute Salah Gomaa levelled on 66 minutes when an Etoile defender misplayed a simple back pass to his goalkeeper. Mohamed Amine ben Amor put Etoile ahead again eight minutes later following a long-range effort which proved to be the winning goal.

The results mean Ahly need to win only 1-0 to go through to the final while Etoile need only to draw, whatever the score.

Ahly missed the services of midfield pillar Hossam Ashour due to injury. The players were extra cautious at the beginning of the match but started the search for goals after Brigui’s goal.

Ahly’s spirits were high after shocking Tunisia’s Esperance 2-1 in the second leg of the away game in the quarter-finals of the African Champions League after a 2-2 draw in Alexandria.

Having reached the last four over the weekend, Ahly remained in Tunis to avoid returning to Egypt and then back to Tunisia.
Ahly will play their second leg match during the weekend of 20-22 October at the 87,000-capacity Borg Al-Arab Stadium. Etoile and Ahly have met before twice in the 2005 and 2007 Champions League finals with Ahly coming out the winner the first time and Etoile the second.

In the second semi-final first leg match played on Saturday, USM Alger of Algeria and Wydad Casablanca of Morocco drew 0-0 in Algiers.

The match lacked rhythm due to constant stoppages for injuries, some of which were dubious.

Former champions Wydad host the return match against 2015 runners-up USMA during the weekend of 20-22 October.

Belgium-born USM coach Paul Put complained about the Cameroonian referee, claiming his team were denied a penalty.
Wydad coach Hussein Amotta blamed the Stade du 5 Juillet pitch for the poor fare, with barely any clear cut scoring chances. “The state of the pitch affected our performance,” he told reporters. “To play our normal passing game, we require a good surface.”
Ahly have been African champions a record eight times with Etoile and Wydad once each. The closest USM came was finishing runners-up two seasons ago.
A record $2.5 million first prize is up for grabs this year plus a place in the FIFA Club World Cup tournament scheduled for the UAE in December.

Meanwhile, at the end of the deadline for submission of applications, three federations had submitted their bids to the general secretariat of the Confederation Africaine de Football for the organisation of the 2018 Total African Nations Championship: Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Morocco.

At its meeting on 23 September the CAF Executive Committee decided to complete the process of selecting a new host country for the tournament scheduled for January 2018 within 15 days after Kenya, the initial host, failed to meet the requirements.

Total CHAN is a competition that brings together 16 national teams made up of players selected in their national championships. The fifth edition is to be held in 2018.

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