Sunday,17 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1366, (26 October - 1 November 2017)
Sunday,17 February, 2019
Issue 1366, (26 October - 1 November 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Demolition derby

Ahly’s Red Devils were especially devilish, exploding for half a dozen goals against Tunisia’s Etoile to reach the final of the African Champions League, reports Abeer Anwar


Ahly demolished Etoile du Sahel 6-2 in Alexandria

Egyptian giants Ahly, eight-time winners of the African Champions League, can make it a record-extending nine after they demolished Etoile du Sahel 6-2 in Alexandria on Sunday night to advance to the final, wiping out a 2-1 first leg away loss.

Ahly, who last won the tournament in 2013, will face Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco in the final, with the first leg to be held next week in Alex.

The Red Devils tore the Tunisian guests apart as Ali Maaloul opened the scoring just two minutes in from a free-kick that Etoile goalkeeper Ayman Mathloutji failed to hold.

Stunned, Etoile du Sahel players who probably hoped for a tie were forced to attack but that simply opened the way for an avalanche, led by a hat-trick from Oualid Azaro who had until then come under withering criticism from pundits and Ahly fans for lack of goal scoring.

A bizarre own goal and a fine strike from Rami Rabia took Ahly to their first final in four years, with Etoile replying through Rami El-Bedwi and Ihab Msakni late on.

Ahly head coach Hossam Al-Badri said his initial target was to win “so I am very happy with such a result. We were lucky today. We focused on Etoile’s weak points, particularly their defence.”

Ahly will meet Wydad for the $2.5 million prize money and the ticket to represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in December.

Ahly have requested this Sunday 29 October as their preferred date for the first leg of the CAF Champions League final against Wydad with the Cairo giants now waiting for confirmation from the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Ahly demolished Etoile du Sahel 6-2 in Alexandria

“Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri asked to play the first leg of the CAF Champions League final on Sunday, and we are waiting for the Confederation’s response, because they put forward 27, 28 and 29 October, asking us to choose one of them,” Ahly Executive Director Sherin Shams told a radio programme on Monday.

Ahly’s management have also asked the Interior Ministry to allow more spectators to attend the Wydad match.

“We’re asking for 70,000 fans to attend the game to support the team, as it is the official capacity of the Borg Al-Arab Stadium,” Shams said.

Since 2012, most matches in Egypt have been played without fans for security reasons.

Meanwhile, a second half brace from Achraf Bencharki and Walid Karti was enough for Wydad Athletic Club to reach the final of a major continental championship for the first time since 2011 following a 3-1 win over USM Alger of Algeria at a packed Mohamed V Complex Stadium in Casablanca which ensured Wydad booking their place at the decisive stage.

The first leg in Algeria ended 0-0. It was a deserving win for the 1992 winners, who improved on their semi-final placing last year, with a spot at the grand finale this term.
Wydad, which lost 1-0 on aggregate to Tunisia’s Esperance in the final of the 2011 edition, have an opportunity once again to win the Holy Grail of continental club football.

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